Secretary General of Council of Europe calls on Verkhovna Rada to reject attempt to pass law re-criminalising defamation

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Sept. 22, 2012, 5:24 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych (L) and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Jagland Thorbjørn pose during their meeting prior to the talks in Kiev on April 20, 2011. The Secretary General participates in the conference “25 Years after the Chernobyl disaster. Security of the Future”.

  Brussels, September 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) - The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland has called on the Ukrainian parliament to reject an attempt to adopt a law re-criminalising defamation.

"The Ukrainian Rada voted in first reading in favour of a law re-criminalising defamation. Ukraine has a vibrant media sector, but the mere threat of prosecution may create a chilling effect, increase self-censorship and curtail media freedom,” he said in a statement, a copy of which has been sent to Interfax-Ukraine.

“Civil remedies and public dialogue would provide a far more appropriate defence against slander. I urge the Ukrainian parliament to reject this attempt to stifle media freedom, which is an essential precondition for a functioning democracy. Without free media, there is no remedy against incompetence and misuse of power," Jagland said.

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