Yesterday and during preceding days representatives of mass media were protesting in the capital and some other regions against the draft law on defamation adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in the first reading. In particular, over 100 journalists and active citizens came yesterday to the Verkhovna Rada to defend their right to “know and speak” (these words were written on the placards of the participants of the action).
Apart from the placards with slogans expressing disagreement with the actions of the power, many protesters were holding clean sheets of paper or even pieces of white cloth (it will be recalled that last week a number of Ukrainian publications were printed with clean first pages to protest against the notorious draft law).
For example, in Kherson, according to The Day’s reporter Ivan Antypenko, journalists, students of the journalism department, and simply active citizens picketed near the oblast state administration building (nearly 50 persons took part in the event). The picket was organized by the Kherson City Independent Media Trade Union. Similar events have taken place in Kirovohrad. One of the main demands of the participants of the action near the parliament building was putting on Verkhovna Rada’s agenda the regulation on canceling the parliament’s decision to adopt the draft law on defamation in the first reading.
According to UNIAN, Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn has suggested considering such regulation first thing in the morning. Head of the VR Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Yurii Stets explained that if the regulation on canceling the voting on the bill will be passed, it will “automatically mean that it won’t be considered, and according to the law on regulations, an alternative draft law can emerge no sooner than in January.” Stets assessed the situation in the following way (emphasizing that he is doing so in the capacity of a journalist, rather than politician): “At the moment everything depends on journalists. The MPs have really felt their pressure today. If as many (or better more) journalists come tomorrow to VR building, hardly any political force – no matter how cynical it may sound – will be eager to conflict with journalists before the elections. In this situation everything depends on the journalists.”
The next action of protest is taking place today at 10:00 a.m. near the parliament building.