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Georgia is leading in a press freedom index among six former Soviet republics included in the European Union's Eastern Partnership initiative.

The first results of a pilot project to study the index of press freedom in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, were made public in Kyiv on September 3. Moldova came second in the ranking, behind Georgia. Armenia was third.

Ukraine placed ahead of Azerbaijan and Belarus, countries with strong authoritarian trends.

The pilot project, designed to run for two years, has been conducted as part of a media monitoring project with the financial assistance of the European Union. The Eastern Partnership, an initiative intended to boost the EU cooperation with its eastern neighbors, was launched by the European Union in 2009.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Azerbaijani, Belarus and Georgian Services, Kyivpost.ua and Interfax
A demonstration of journalists in Kyiv in May criticizing the beating of journalists (file photo)
KYIV -- Three men have received suspended sentences for beating two journalists in Ukraine.

A court in Kyiv sentenced the three to prison terms of between two and three years, with suspension of the implementation of the sentence.

The men pleaded guilty and offered their apologies to journalists Olha Snitsarchuk and Vadym Sodel.

The three were among a group of men dressed in track suits who attacked activists and journalists during an opposition gathering in Kyiv in May.

The incident sparked protests by journalists in Kyiv, who demanded the attackers be brought to justice.

Opposition lawmakers also demanded explanations regarding reports that police did not interfere with the beatings.

Both the Committee to Protect Journalists and Freedom House condemned the attack and urged Ukrainian authorities to investigate.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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