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ARTICLE 19 and International Media Support call on new president to stand for freedom of expression

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 1 March 2010 - On the occasion of the presidential inauguration last week, ARTICLE 19 and International Media Support (IMS) sent an open letter to the newly elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, urging him to respond immediately to serious shortcomings within the legislative and policy framework related to freedom of expression and freedom of media in Ukraine.

In particular, ARTICLE 19 and IMS called on the newly elected President to take immediate and concrete steps to ensure that Ukraine adopts a progressive law on public service broadcasting in compliance with European and international standards. Such a law is still lacking in the country, despite several previous initiatives. The letter also points to the lack of a comprehensive legal and policy framework on access to information, the need to privatise state-owned media and the need to ensure transparency of media ownership to address concerns about the control of various political and economic interests over mainstream media in Ukraine.

"We urge the new President of Ukraine to treat reforms related to freedom of expression and media in the country as a priority on his agenda. We also hope he will take all necessary steps to ensure that genuine progress is made in related reforms that have taken a painstakingly long time in Ukraine," notes ARTICLE 19 Executive Director Agnès Callamard.

"We believe that for Ukraine to continue democratic reform of its institutions and economy, the Government should ensure that the media community in Ukraine is protected and regulated by a media policy and legislative environment that is based on international standards," says Jesper Højberg, Executive Director of International Media Support.

IMS and ARTICLE 19 are currently implementing a media programme in Ukraine and are willing and ready to provide full support and expertise in the future development of freedom of speech and freedom of media in Ukraine.

Read the full text of the open letter in English:
ukraine_president_of_ukraine.pdf (88 KB)

Or in Ukrainian:
ukraine_president_of_ukraine_ukrainian.pdf (115 KB)

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