Yurii Stets and Thorbjørn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe discussed the protection of freedom of expression and journalists in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine
19 January 2017, Yurii Stets, the Minister of information policy of Ukraine made a visit to Strasbourg, in the framework of which, he met with Thorbjørn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
The Minister introduced to the leadership of the Council of Europe a recently established national mechanism to respond to messages posted on the Council of Europe online platform for the protection of journalists, as well as gave the first answers on the behalf of the Ukrainian authority on messages relating to Ukraine. The establishment of this mechanism has shown the intensification of cooperation between Ukraine and the Council of Europe in protecting media freedom and ensuring journalists' safety.
The parties also agreed to cooperate in the framework of the Action Plan of the Council of Europe for Ukraine in 2018-2020 for the implementation of reforms in the information space, including a part regarding the establishment of public television.
During the meeting, Yurii Stets raised the issue of the state of media freedom and journalists' safety in the Russian-occupied territories of Crimea and Donetsk and Luhansk regions. He also urged the Council of Europe to take decisive actions with the aim of exerting pressure on Russia as on a state-occupier with the requirement to guarantee freedom of expression and safety of journalists. In particular, Yuri Stets provided detailed information about the cases of Mykola Semena and Roman Sushchenko to Thorbjørn Jagland and urged him to take active steps towards protection of their rights and unconditional release.
The Minister of information policy of Ukraine also stressed the advisability of launching the remote monitoring by the Council of Europe on the situation with media freedom in the occupied territories, in particular through increased cooperation with non-governmental organizations and based on information from open sources.
"As a Minister and journalist, I am looking forward to more active interaction between Ukraine and the Council of Europe. Freedom of speech should be one of the fundamental bases of the Ukrainian state and we can achieve this together", - said Yurii Stets during a conversation with the Secretary General.
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