Ruling majority gets rid of opposition chair of Freedom of Speech Committee


On Friday the Verkhovna Rada voted to remove journalist and BYUT MP from his post as Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information.  The motion was supported by 187 representatives of the Party of the Regions; 20 from Lytvyn’s Party; 10 non-faction; 2 from Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence; 25 from the Communist Party and I from “Reform for the Future”.

The head of the Party of the Regions said after the vote that the majority was ready to support another candidate proposed by the opposition, however representatives of BYUT – Batkivshchyna again put forward Andriy Shevchenko.

The arguments during the debate varied from accusations that the majority were trying to destroy freedom of speech before the parliamentary elections in October, to aspersions against Andriy Shevchenko himself. 

On 11 January Party of the Regions MP Olena Bondarenko accused Shevchenko of destroying the work of the committee, abusing his position and systematically taking decisions and then saying they were group decisions.

Batkivshchyna accused the majority of carrying out a raider seizure of the committee.

On 22 December the Committee declared a vote of no confidence in Andriy Shevchenko with this being voted for by the six members of the committee from the Party of the Regions and one communist.  Three members of the opposition walked out while one other was not present at the session. 

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