Computer Crime Research Center


"Reporters Without Borders": Free Internet in Ukraine

Date: June 28, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Dmitri Kramarenko

An International legal organization "Reporters without borders" announced a report on obstacles to the free flow of information online -- "Internet Under Surveillance - 2004", which, in particular, points at a difficult situation with free Internet and Internet mass media in Ukraine.

Robert Menard, Secretary-General, in the foreground to the report, notes that in this very long list of regimes opposed to freedom, they find habitual human rights violators such as Ukraine and Belarus

According to Robert Menard, the report should not be seen as a kind of ranking of regimes by their repression of the Internet, but more as an appeal for vigilance in countries where, as in democracies, it's still possible to expose abuses and flaws; and also an appeal for solidarity with those who are flagrantly deprived of freedom, such as the 70 or so cyber-dissidents currently in prison around the world.

As regards Ukraine, "Reporters without borders" evaluate an Internet-freedom situation to be complicated.

Report says the number of Internet users is ever-increasing in Ukraine (according to the organization it reached 9% of all population for last 2 years), many of them log on often to find necessary political information.

"Ukrainian Parliament passed a series of measures proposed by the Security Service of Ukraine to regulate the Internet in 2003. Law enforcement agencies were worried about it, especially for Ukraine is a country where political news announcements are spreading widely through the Internet", the report says.

The organization notes that the Internet gives journalists an opportunity to publish investigations that wouldn't be published or would be censored in traditional mass media.

Though harassment and intimidation of mass media and threatening journalists are usual things in Ukraine, the Internet was relatively free till 2002.

"Governmental bodies, especially the Security Service, realized that the auditorium of online mass media is ever-increasing and they armed themselves with Internet monitoring means. They also initiated reforms that prove dangers to free expression," the report says.

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