Ukraine journalists 'at risk' by defying censors

There were reports of widespread press censorship in Ukraine as protests mounted over the country’s disputed presidential election result.

International Federation of Journalists observer David Crouch reported that: ` on Sunday and Monday four news readers on channel 1+1 refused to present election coverage due to “crude” censorship of the news.

` at TV channels Inter and UT1 journalists have walked out in disgust apparently in protest against state orders on how to report events, ` three newspapers are said to have had their distribution blocked in the run up to the election.

Some 330 broadcast journalists have signed a petition attacking the censorship which they say they have to work under.

IFJ general secretary Aidan White said: “The situation is very tense and we have extremely worrying reports about attempts to distort the news and control the media.

“Many broadcast journalists are risking everything by refusing to bow to pressure and censorship.”

According to the IFJ the Ukrainian media was overwhelming biased in favour of Viktor Yunkovich, who was announced the winner of the election by a margin of three per cent on Sunday.

International observers have reported widespread election fraud leading to challenger Viktor Yushenko pronouncing himself as the election winner.

The national paper Silski Visti was reported to have been blocked at the printers on 16 November when it carried a large interview with Yushchenko.

Dominic Ponsford

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