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You're reading: People First: The latest in the watch on Ukrainian democracy

Media intimidation continues

Evidence of governmental pressure on freedom of speech in Ukraine seems to continue to be abundant. Earlier this year, journalists in a number of cities have been interrogated by the militia, apparently following their stories of the defacing of posters bearing a greeting from Yanukovych. Journalists in Lviv, Odessa, Kostopil and other towns report that during interrogation they were threatened and their personal belongings were seized.

Opposition members from the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information have already risen in protest; demanding that the Prosecutor General’s Office take measures to secure the legitimacy of militia actions and protect the rights of journalists in the country. The opposition members claim that the militia officers infringed the journalists’ rights to free receipt, generation and distribution of information as guaranteed by the Article 34 of the Constitution and Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine: On Information. Despite frequent allegations, police categorically deny that they have violated the law and put pressure on journalists and mass media in general. Whether due to pressure or obscurity, it is getting increasingly difficult to enforce freedom of speech in Ukraine.

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