Libel law clearly only on hold


MP from the Party of the Regions, Serhiy Kivalov is certain that the Verkhovna Rada will return to the highly contentious draft law on libel or defamation after the elections. The official author of the bill, Vitaly Zhuravsky also stated in the message reported on the Party of the Regions website that he planned to work on the bill after the elections, though he did promise to discuss the bill with the public first.

In fact, however, the government may not necessarily even revoke the draft bill which, if passed, would recriminalize libel / defamation. 

As those in government were doubtless aware, Zhuravsky cannot simply “withdraw” a bill which has passed its first reading.   On Wednesday, Kyiv Post published a list of the MPs who had voted for the bill under the heading  Contact these pro-presidential lawmakers and tell them to cancel libel law

There are only two parliamentary sessions before the elections: 2 and 16 October.  And, even if the ruling majority does vote to revoke it before the elections, the bill on 18 September was supported by the Party of the Regions, the Communist Party and the People’s Party of Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn.  If they remain the ruling majority after the parliamentary elections, it seems only a question of time before the plans to recriminalize libel raise their ugly head again.

Media groups are planning a major demonstration against the bill on 1 October. 

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