NUJ supports campaign against defamation bill in Ukraine
1 October 2012
The NUJ is supporting the call by Ukrainian journalists for the withdrawal of proposed legislation that would introduce criminal responsibility for libel.
"There must be 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. Our support is with our Ukrainian colleagues as they fight to protect democracy and for the right to do their jobs free from fear. This law would enable the powerful to silence critics and end the exposure of corruption."
The message of support was signed by Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, and Jim Boumelha, president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
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 has led to curtailing of civic freedoms and there are serious concerns that Ukraine is at risk as well.
Read the European Federation of Journalists/IFJ statement from 20 September.