The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine has launched an information campaign to protect freedom of speech and the rights of journalists, coincided with the 2020 local elections. In partnership with Ukrainian journalists and experts from the International and European Federation of Journalists, the National Union has developed a Declaration of Freedom of Speech Protection and proposed that the candidates sign it.
The document consists of seven principles and stipulates that candidates for local councils’ deputies and villages, settlements, and cities’ mayors undertake a commitment to provide local government transparency and openness to criticism; respect freedom of speech and expression; and give up pressure on journalists and media, etc.
“The authorities do not make enough efforts to protect freedom of speech and the rights of journalists effectively. One of the main problems is the systemic impunity for crimes against journalists. Our profession remains dangerous. But instead of strengthening the journalists’ safety, media economic support, deputies focus on state media regulation increase, laying these rules in the corresponding draft law. We consider the Declaration to Protect Freedom of Speech signing an opportunity to convey to politicians a better understanding of our industry and the needs of journalists,” said Serhiy Tomilenko, Chairman of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.
The Declaration of Freedom of Speech protection was introduced during the 2019 presidential election in Ukraine. The International and European Federation of Journalists positively assessed this initiative.