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Ukrainian President Concerned By State Of Press Freedom

Viktor Yushchenko

Viktor Yushchenko

KYIV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is calling on journalists to be more active in protecting freedom of speech in the country, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Yushchenko said on October 7 he is "very concerned with the current situation concerning press freedom" in Ukraine. Speaking at a meeting of regional media directors in Kyiv, Yushchenko said that every day the "space of openness" is getting "narrower."

He added that if Ukrainian journalists do not protect freedom of speech then "tomorrow those who will tell us what to write and what to say will come."

Yushchenko, who is running for reelection in the January presidential election, urged the media leaders not to think about their paychecks but rather "about Ukraine's future as a democratic country" if free speech continues its decline.