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Ukrainian Talk Show Host Loses Work Permit, Vows Hunger Strike

Ukrainian TV talk show host Savik Shuster
Ukrainian TV talk show host Savik Shuster

A prominent Ukrainian talk show host was stripped of his work permit on April 26, sparking an uproar that forced Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to defend his record on media freedom.

Savik Shuster -- a 63-year-old Canadian who was born in the Soviet Union and had previously worked for RFE/RL -- accused Kyiv of not supporting free speech.

"As it turns out, this government does not tolerate any criticism," he said on his satellite television channel.

He announced he was going on a hunger strike " right to work in Ukraine is restored."

Ukraine's employment office told Shuster that his work permit was revoked because he had failed to notify authorities that he was under investigation by tax authorities.

"Freedom of speech is one of Ukraine's greatest achievements," Poroshenko countered on Facebook. "As the guarantor of the constitution, I have and will protect free speech in all its forms. That is why I hope that the corresponding agencies resolve this matter as soon as possible."

Shuster has produced his political talk show Shuster Live for years. He vowed to continue his work without a permit.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters