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You're reading: The Moscow Times: Media watchdog denounces Ukraine defamation bill

 An international media watchdog urged Ukrainian lawmakers Wednesday to reject a bill that would make defamation a crime, saying it could "threaten the very existence of independent journalism." 

This week, Ukraine’s parliament, dominated by President Viktor Yanukovych’s allies, tentatively approved a bill that would make defamation punishable by up to five years in prison, restoring a Soviet-era practice that Ukraine abolished 11 years ago.

Currently, alleged libel can result in only a civil lawsuit, and journalists who lose would just face fines.

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