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Ukraine warned against passing media libel law

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Sept. 19, 2012, 4:05 p.m. | Ukraine — by Associated Press

An international media watchdog is urging Ukrainian lawmakers to reject a bill that calls for criminalizing libel, saying it could "threaten the very existence of independent journalism."
© Alex Kuzmin

Associated Press

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An international media watchdog is urging Ukrainian lawmakers to reject a bill that calls for criminalizing libel, saying it could "threaten the very existence of independent journalism."

This week, Ukraine's parliament gave tentative approval to a bill that could impose a jail term of up to five years for defamation.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday that "such a return to the past would have a major impact on freedom of information in Ukraine."

Watchdogs say media freedoms in Ukraine have come under threat since President Viktor Yanukovych came to power two years ago. They accuse the government of resorting to censorship and pressuring independent news outlets ahead of the Oct. 28 parliamentary election.

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