US State Department concerned over freedom of speech in Ukraine
US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, William J. Burns, told journalists in Kyiv on 9 September that he thinks there are entirely warranted grounds for concern regarding the situation with freedom of speech in Ukraine.
Mr Burns said that he had discussed the issue of media freedom with civic activists. He said that they (in the US State Department) would be firm in insisting that the statements of the Ukrainian authorities are turned into real actions, and that this was not a question of America attempting to teach Ukraine.
He stressed that you could not talk of such challenges as fighting corruption if there was no free press, to ensure that they get brought to answer.
Ukrainian News reports Mr Burns as saying that he had not been aware of the problems which the International Renaissance Foundation had had nor that Valery Khoroshkovsky, Head of the Security Service, is the owner of the biggest media group in Ukraine.
On Tuesday, 7 September, the Executive Director of the International Renaissance Foundation [IRF] reported that that several civic organizations in the Kyiv region carrying out projects financed by IRF had been approached by the Security Service [SBU]. They were asked for information about the aims and tasks of their projects, their financial component and assessment of their impact on the pre-election situation in Ukraine. IRF explain the SBU’s interest as impelled by the wish to create “managed democracy” (see http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1283860850 )
From information ( in Ukrainian) at http://ukranews.com/uk/news/ukraine/2010/09/10/26596