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Ukrainian Parliament Scraps Bill Criminalizing Defamation

Journalists and activists protesting against the law with blank placards on October 1
Ukrainian legislators have decided to scrap a bill criminalizing defamation.

The decision comes after days of protests in Ukraine by journalists and media activists.

The bill, backed by the ruling Party of the Regions, was given preliminary approval by parliament in a first reading last month.

It calls for toughened punishment for defamation, including prison terms of up to five years. 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.

More than 100 journalists protested against the bill outside the parliament on October 1.

The bill has also been criticized by international media watchdogs.

Based on reporting by Interfax,, and