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

  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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