EFJ supports campaign against defamation bill


The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on Monday backed calls by Ukrainian journalists for the withdrawal of proposed legislation that would introduce criminal responsibility for libel.

Speaking on the fringes of an EFJ conference in Moscow that is focussing on the ways in which the EFJ can support journalists’ unions in Eastern Europe, EFJ President Arne König called for the legislation to be withdrawn: "Right across Europe the EFJ campaigns for an end to criminal procedures for defamation. Laws such as these have a chilling effect on the willingness and ability of journalists to do their jobs effectively." 

The proposed new law had been voted in first hearing on 18 September by the Ukrainian Parliament and is seen by many as another tool for government reprisals against critical journalists. 

The adoption of similar laws in authoritarian countries led to further curtailing of civic freedoms and there are serious concerns that Ukraine is at risk as well. 

Arne König added: "Our support is with our Ukrainian colleagues as they fight to protect democracy and for the right to do their jobs free from fear.”

 See also EFJ/IFJ statement from 20 September:

The EFJ, which is a regional organisation of the International Federation of journalists, represents over 310, 000 journalists in over 30 countries.

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