Media Freedom Under Threat in Ukraine

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European experts say Ukraine could lose its status as an example of pluralism of thought and media freedom—awarded after the Orange Revolution. Our correspondents look into why the Ukrainian media is losing its freedom.

Europe is seriously concerned about media freedom in Ukraine. After a rather critical resolution of the Council of Europe (COE), concerns regarding the independence of the Ukrainian media were expressed by Dunja Mijatovic, Representative from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Freedom of the Media.

[Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Media Freedom]:
"Unfortunately, after two days and the assessments I made after the talk with government officials but also with NGOs and civil society, I can see that there are certain problems in parameters that are showing that media freedom commitments that Ukraine agreed to when it became a participating state of the OSCE are in a real danger."

Mijatovic believes self-censorship of journalists and reducing criticism of those in power are among the biggest problems facing Ukrainian media. In addition, there are fears for the safety of journalists. Ukrainian media experts are more critical in their assessments. They believe that freedom of speech in Ukraine is collapsing altogether.

[Taras Shevchenko, Director, Media Law Institute]:
"The opportunity for journalists to express their views on television is allowed if these views coincide with the opinion of the station owner. No information can be given about political opponents of the television station owner, nor about any economic adversaries. The owners of TV stations are usually wealthy and influential people who have businesses, metallurgic interests and mines. When it comes to a political or business component of interest to the owner, then editorial control must be installed so that only a regular point of view should be made."

NTD, Kyiv, Ukraine.

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