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Akhmetov proposes to improve libel law according to international standards

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Oct. 1, 2012, 6:32 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Reporters hold blank sheets of paper in protest to libel law criminalizing slander.
© Kostyantyn Chernichkin

Famous Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov has offered to involve Ukrainian and international experts in improving the law on the protection of the honor and dignity of citizens.

"I'm proposing to use the capabilities of the Foundation for Effective Governance to attract the best experts, Ukrainian and international, in order to systematically study world practices the legislation of other countries, to organize transparent discussions and work out the best option for our country," the press service of Akhmetov quotes him as saying.

"I'm against slander, but I'm even more against journalists being pressured and be imprisoned for the truth," he said.

According to the businessman, Ukraine "needs a decision that will protect the freedom of speech, defend journalists and protect ordinary people from slander."

Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine at the first sitting approved the bill on amendments into the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine on toughening punishments for the infringement of a person's honor, dignity and business reputation.

Following criticism from journalists, as well as from public and international organizations, the author of the document, Vitaliy Zhuravsky, said he would withdraw his bill. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych called adoption of the bill a mistake.

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