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The press and freedom of speech in Ukraine ahead of parliamentary elections. OSW Commentary No. 90, 2012-09-20

Iwanski, Tadeusz (2012) The press and freedom of speech in Ukraine ahead of parliamentary elections. OSW Commentary No. 90, 2012-09-20. [Policy Paper]

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    The independence of the mass media has been regularly restricted over the past two years in Ukraine. Following a period of relative freedom in 2005–2010, the scope of direct and indirect government control of the press has increased, cancelling out the achievements of the Orange Revolution in this area. The press in Ukraine is less and less able to perform its role as watchdog on the government and politicians and as a reliable source of information on the situation in the country to the public. This is mainly due to: (1) the concentration of the most important mass media in the hands of Ukraine’s most powerful oligarchs, whose business interests depend on the government; (2) the use of the press as instruments in political and business competition; (3) the ruling class’s subordination of the institutions which supervise the press; (4) repression used against media critical of the government and (5) the lack of an independent public broadcasting corporation. As a consequence, the press has hardly any impact on the political processes taking place ahead of the parliamentary election scheduled for 28 October. This is also an effect of a passiveness present in the Ukrainian public, who are tired of politics and are focused on social issues. Cases of abuse or corruption scandals revealed by the press do not provoke any response from the public and are rarely investigated by the public prosecution authorities. The more popular a given medium is, the more strongly it is controlled by the government. At present, television has to be recognised as the least reliable of the mass media. In turn, Internet news journals are characterised by the greatest pluralism but also have more limited accessibility. The political conditions in which the mass media operate in Ukraine lead to various forms of pathology. The most serious of them are censorship by the owners and self-censorship performed by journalists, and a great share of political advertorials. As the parliamentary election is approaching, the pathologies of the Ukrainian media market have been showing up with greater intensity.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Ukraine
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2014 10:21
    Number of Pages: 6
    Last Modified: 12 Dec 2014 10:21

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