MOSCOW, 2 October 2012 - The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, commended today the decision by the Verkhovna Rada (the parliament) of Ukraine to reject re-criminalization of defamation.
“I welcome the fact that Ukrainian legislators took note of the concerns of civil society and the media community and decided not to adopt the amendment to re-establish criminal liability for defamation,” said Mijatović.
In September, Mijatović expressed her concern over the adoption by the Rada in the first reading of the draft law reintroducing criminal liability for libel. She said this draft legislation, if adopted, would be a serious setback for media freedom.
“I have always urged OSCE participating States to decriminalize defamation and protect journalists from criminal prosecution. It is inspiring that journalists and bloggers in Ukraine will not face the threat of criminal prosecution for voicing their thoughts.
"This threat has a chilling effect on media freedom and freedom of expression,” said Mijatović.
Mijatović is in Moscow on a working visit.