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INITIATIVES TARGET MEDIA LAW REFORM

ARTICLE 19 has been selected to sit on the board of a new council the Ukraine government has established to look at reforming media laws and gathering public input on the process, reports the International Journalists' Network (www.ijnet.org). ">http://www.ijnet.org">www.ijnet.org).

The Public Council on Freedom of Speech and Information Issues' first task will be to examine proposed laws and measure their compatibility with European Union standards.

At a recent round table discussion organised in Kiev by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe (CoE), the head of the Parliament Committee on Freedom of Expression admitted that press freedom conditions in Ukraine were "difficult" and said amending current media laws would improve the situation.

The round table discussion followed a series of seminars the CoE has been conducting to train Ukrainian judges on CoE legal standards regarding freedom of expression [See CoE Actio Plan for the Media in Ukraine: www.humanrights.coe.int]. ">http://www.humanrights.coe.int/media/atcm/2001/Ukraine/Action%20Plan%20Ukraine%20Public%20(A).doc">www.humanrights.coe.int].

It also followed a new funding initiative by the British government to support press freedom in Ukraine. With a start-up budget of £800,000 (US$1.24 million) from the British Department for International Development, the project involves the creation of a new Media Reform Center at the Kiev-Mohyla Academy and a new Media Reform Club that will facilitate discussion and cooperation among different groups, including journalist associations, parliamentarians, non-governmental organisations and judges.

The initiative is part of the British government's £80 million (US$124.3 million) plan to support democratic reforms in Ukraine over the next four years.

Partners in the Media Reform Center and Club include the National University of “Kiev-Mohyla Academy” (School of Journalism), the Independent Association of Broadcasters (IAB) and Internews-Ukraine.

Visit these links:

- CoE's list of training seminars in Ukraine: www.humanrights.coe.int/media.">http://www.humanrights.coe.int/media/atcm/2002/table.htm#UKRAINE">www.humanrights.coe.int/media.

- OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media: www.osce.org">http://www.osce.org/news/generate.php3?news_id=2763">www.osce.org

- Internews Ukraine: www.internews.ua">http://www.internews.ua/eng/news/">www.internews.ua

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