KIEV, Ukraine -- Initiative youngsters held major protests in the main Ukrainian cities against media censorship
Protestors washed newspapers and TV sets by detergent. They put up posters with slogans such as: “Censorship – path to totalitarianism”, “Let’s wash off mass media from censorship” and so on.
Journalists of two biggest Ukrainian TV channels wrote open letters about censorship returning in Ukraine.
Recently members of “Party of Regions” registered in parliament a bill that accepts criminal prosecution of journalists for publishing “irresponsible political statement”.
In addition, on the birthday of Ukrainian journalist Georgiy Gongadze who was killed by ex-president Leonid Kuchma regime, ukrainian journalists set up public movement “Stop censorship”.
Reporters Without Borders, an international media watchdog, has written to Yanukovych twice, first to express dismay at “an alarming deterioration in the press freedom situation in Ukraine” since his Feb. 25 inauguration
Natalia Petrova, a lawyer and a media expert, said that Ukrainian politicians and courts still don’t understand that a basic tenet of a democratic society is the freedom to assemble peacefully – even in protest.
“Ukraine should learn from the Western countries how to balance people’s rights for assembly and public order. Just take a look at the anti-globalists protests during the G8 and other summits: nobody bans them and if the police notice a violent action, they just locate and isolate the instigators, while other people keep protesting”. - a lawyer and a media expert Natalia Petrova said.