Amid the scandals involving TVi television channel, whose director is accused of tax evasion, and LB.ua, a popular online publication facing an invasion of privacy charge, Ukraine’s journalists are about to face yet more unwelcome attacks designed to muzzle them.

If legislation proposed by Vitaliy Zhuravsky, a member of the ruling Party of Regions becomes law, libel will become a criminal offense punished by fines of up to Hr 85,000 ($10,625), or, in extreme cases, up to five years in prison.

Parliament should not pass this bill. If it does, President Viktor Yanukovych should veto the legislation which is seen as a blow to free speech and democracy. 

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