Ukrainian Journalists Protest Defamation Bill
Published 1 October 2012
Some 100 Ukrainian journalists and media activists picketed the parliament in Kyiv on October 1, protesting against a defamation bill. The draft law backed by the ruling Party of the Regions proposes up to five years in jail for offenders. Parliament passed it in a first reading last month, but the bill was then put on hold after the opposition and independent media denounced it as part of a crackdown on freedom of speech in the run up to parliamentary elections on October 28.
Protesters outside parliament held empty posters to highlight their concerns about censorship and placards saying "Whatever People Think Of Government Is Defamation!"
Western governments have criticized President Viktor Yanukovych for backsliding on democracy and a trend toward greater authoritarianism since he came to power in February 2010.
The draft law, backed by the ruling Party of the Regions, proposes up to five years in jail for offenders.