Ukraine's parliament (Verkhovna Rada) adopted a bill introducing amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine to tighten liability for criminal offences committed against journalists.
Some 341 lawmakers voted for a respective decision at a parliament meeting on Tuesday, February 2.
The law amends relevant article of the Criminal Code, proposing to increase fines for offences including;
- the illegal seizure of materials collected, processed and prepared by journalist and technical means they use in their professional activity
- the illegal denial of access to information
- an illegal ban on coverage of certain topics, showing certain individuals, criticizing officials
- and any other intentional obstruction of a journalist's legitimate professional activity.
Similarly, lawmakers doubled fines for influencing journalists in any way in order to obstruct their professional duties or to prosecute journalists in connection with their lawful activities.
If the above actions were committed by an official using his official position or by prior agreement with a group of persons; the perpetrators face a fine of up to 3,000 non-taxable minimum incomes, which is four to six times higher than the current figure.
The law also updates the wording provides criminal liability with imprisonment for a term of 7 to 14 years for;
- the threat of murder, violence, destruction or damage to the property of journalists, their close relatives or family members
- intended infliction of light, moderate or serious physical injuries to persons connected with journalists' legal professional activity, committed repeatedly or by prior conspiracy by a group of persons or an organized group.