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You're reading: Reporters Without Borders urging Rada to reject bill criminalizing defamation

Reporters Without Borders have called on the Verkhovna Rada to vote down at second reading a bill on amendments to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine suggesting increased responsibility for attacks on the honor, dignity and business reputation of a person."

“Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the Ukrainian parliament’s
approval at first reading yesterday (September 18) of a bill that would
recriminalize defamation, and urges lawmakers to reverse this decision
by rejecting the bill at second reading,” the statement posted on the
organization’s Web site reads.

The organization believes that Ukraine will go eleven years back if it puts defamation back into the criminal code.

“It would run counter to the worldwide trend and would clearly
violate the international conventions Ukraine has ratified, starting
with the European Convention on Human Rights and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the statement reads.

Reporters Without Borders noted that such a return to the past would
have a major impact on the freedom of information in Ukraine and will
lead to intimidation of journalists as well as self-censorship inside
news organizations.

The organization has also called on Stefan Fule, the European
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, to make
it clear to the Ukrainian government that the adoption of this bill
would be incompatible with closer association with the European Union.

On September 18, the Verkhovna Rada passed at first reading a bill that reestablishes criminal responsibility for defamation.

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