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Defamation bill recalled from Ukraine parliament

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Sept. 26, 2012, 12:58 p.m. | Politics — by Associated Press

Defamation bill, which last week passed a first reading, called for penalties of up to five years in jail for defamation.
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Associated Press

Associated Press

A lawmaker in Ukraine has recalled a bill that envisioned jail time for defamation and provoked protests over the legislation's potential for enabling censorship.

The move marks a rare victory for civil society in Ukraine, which had feared the proposal backed by President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions would be used by the authorities to silence criticism of the government.

The bill, which last week passed a first reading, called for penalties of up to five years in jail for defamation. The draft law drew condemnation from international watchdogs.

Party of Regions deputy Vitaly Zhuravsky said Wednesday he had recalled the bill and that he would rework it together with civil society groups.

Yanukovych, who is in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly, says he supports Zhuravsky's decision.

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