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U.S. concerned over prosecution of media in Ukraine ahead of parliamentary elections

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July 27, 2012, 10:49 a.m. |

The United States is concerned over curtailing of media freedom ahead of the October parliamentary elections in Ukraine, U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ian Kelly said at the Permanent Council in Vienna on July 26.
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The United States is concerned over curtailing of media freedom ahead of the October parliamentary elections in Ukraine, U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ian Kelly said at the Permanent Council in Vienna on July 26.

"The United States is concerned that the Government of Ukraine is curtailing freedom of media representatives in advance of the October parliamentary elections," reads a statement by Kelly posted on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

He noted that some independent media outlets and their owners were facing increased pressure that appeared intended to restrict their reporting. "Recent actions by authorities include criminal investigations, prosecutions, raids by tax inspectors, and threats to deny broadcasting licenses," Kelly said.

The official noted the July 12 raid on television broadcaster TVi by tax police, a related criminal case against the channel's general director, Mykola Kniazhytsky, and the criminal investigation of Lb.ua journalist Sonia Koshkina, which raise concern and appear to conflict with the government's moratorium on checks on the media before the October 28 elections.

"Prosecution of these individuals continues, despite President [Viktor] Yanukovych's call for prosecutors and the tax service to reexamine whether there is a legal basis for the investigations. We are calling on the Government of Ukraine to cease prosecution of these cases and to uphold media pluralism and independence," the U.S. diplomat said.

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