Waneth protests defamation law

    On September 25, a protest rally against amendments to the criminal code, which transfer slander from the category of administrative offenses to criminal, began in the uanet . The amendments were adopted in first reading on September 18th. In accordance with them, large fines and prison terms of up to five years are introduced for defamation. Slander in Ukraine ceased to be considered a criminal offense in 2001.

    The bill has already sparked sharp criticism from journalists and human rights organizations, which consider it the beginning of a “screw tightening" on the Internet. The action involves the largest information resources of the Ukrainian segment of the network - Ukrainska Pravda, Korrespondent.net, the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in Ukraine, the site Today.ua, TVі, LB.ua, Football.ua, iSport.ua, LigaBusinessInform, Telekritika, Newsru.ua, Delo.ua, InvestGazeta, KyivPost, Day, Ukrainian News Agency and Interfax-Ukraine and others. In the Facebook group “Tell the law about hardening. Celebrate cutaneous ”(Say no to the law on defamation. It concerns everyone) more than three and a half thousand people have already been registered.

    On October 28, parliamentary elections will be held in Ukraine, as a result of which, according to many opinion polls, the current government may well lose the majority in the Verkhovna Rada. Over the past few years, Ukraine has dropped from 108 to 130 in the Freedom House ranking of press freedom, moving from the category of free countries to partially free. The Internet is still relatively uncontrolled - in the Internet freedom rating, Ukraine is still classified as a free country, far ahead of neighboring Russia and Belarus. If amendments to the criminal code are adopted, many independent online media, bloggers and ordinary Internet users may be prosecuted.

    UPD:The protest brought first results. On the evening of September 25, Verkhovna Rada deputy Vitaly Zhuravsky, on whose initiative the bill was registered, said he intended to withdraw it . Nevertheless, he insists that such a law is necessary and intends to continue its discussion after the election.

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