„Stop Censorship”: democratic processes and freedoms under assault in Ukraine
The movement „Stop Censorship” would like to draw the attention of international journalist and human rights organizations to the dismantling by the new regime of democratic processes and freedoms in Ukraine.
Despite numerous appeals from Ukrainian and international journalist organizations regarding violations of journalists’ rights and cases where their professional activities have been obstructed, the Ukrainian authorities as represented by President Yanukovych, while officially making statements about support for freedom of speech, in fact has distanced himself and ignored the legitimate demands of journalists regarding their right to their profession. The number of cases of obstruction of journalist work, instances of censorship, various types of pressure on individual journalist and creative teams is rising without let up.
The threat to freedom of speech in Ukraine seems particularly acute in the light of the direct pressure from the enforcement bodies on the television channels TVi, Channel 5 and TRC “Chornomorska” which are facing the threat of closure.
„Stop Censorship” would recall the recommendations made by the international journalist NGO Reporters without Borders, the International Press Institute, other international institutes, well-known political and political figures regarding the conflict of interests and unacceptable combining by the Head of the Security Service [SBU] V. Khoroshkovsky of a post in this enforcement structure with his position in the country’s largest media holding which controls a considerable percentage of television broadcasting in the country.
„Stop Censorship” would ask the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, embassies of other countries, international journalist and human rights organizations to draw the attention of the President of Ukraine as Guarantor of the Constitution to the deterioration in freedom of speech in Ukraine and to the need to do all in his power to ensure the proper level of media functioning in Ukraine on the principle of non-interference of the State in the work of the mass media.
Should the recommendations of international journalist organizations not be implemented and Ukraine’s international commitments regarding protection of free press by the President not be observed, the movement „Stop Censorship” reserves the right to call Ukraine’s journalists out on a national journalist strike.
The movement “Stop Censorship” was created on 21 May 2010. It is an initiative by Ukrainian journalists and media NGOs aimed at upholding freedom of speech, preventing censorship, the obstruction of journalists when carrying out their professional duties, and violations of professional standards in covering socio-political issues. It has no political ties or agenda.