Victoria Syumar to head parliamentary committee on freedom of speech


Hromadske TV reports that Victoria Syumar, former Director of the Institute for Mass Information and newly-elected MP is to head the parliamentary committee on freedom of speech and information. It quotes its own source as saying that the appointment was agreed in the Verkhovna Rada on Saturday.

As a firm defender of press freedom and access to public information, Victoria Syumar is an excellent candidate for the post but the news is good for another reason.   Mykola Knyazhytsky who was a member of the committee in the last parliament had reported that MPs had agreed to ‘hand the leadership post’ over to a candidate from the Opposition Bloc, made up primarily of former Party of the Regions MPs.  Serhiy Lyovochkin, one of the leaders of the bloc and former head of the president’s administration under Viktor Yanukovych, had said that this post was of principle importance to the bloc.  There was suggestion that it could be headed by Yury Miroshnychenko, Yanukovych’s representative in the Verkhovna Rada. 

Syumar and three other media people were elected to parliament from the People’s Front.  The others are Tetyana Chornovol; Mykola Knyazhytsky and Serhiy Vysotsky. 

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