US Warns Against Return To Censorship In Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine -- US ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft on Thursday warned Ukraine's authorities against a return to media censorship amid growing concerns over press freedoms in the ex-Soviet country.

US ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft on Thursday warned Ukraine's authorities against a return to media censorship.

"There should be no going back to the old system of government pressure of journalists and media companies," Tefft said during a speech to a Kiev-based think tank, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

He noted "troubling reports of pressure on journalists" and an attack on a regional newspaper editor as recent worrying signs.

"We must also recognise that some media companies practise self-censorship, which is equally destructive to the principle of press freedom," Tefft added.

"It is essential to protect and even expand the media freedoms that emerged" after the country's 2004 Orange Revolution, he said.

Press freedom in Ukraine is seen as one of the few lasting gains of the revolution that brought pro-Western leaders to power, who were in turn ousted by President Viktor Yanukovych in this year's elections.

Ukrainian television journalists last month issued a petition complaining of an increase in censorship under the pro-Kremlin Yanukovych, saying certain issues had become taboo.

Dozens of journalists and social activists marched in Kiev this month to denounce what they see as a return to state censorship.

Source: AFP

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