Vienna, 15 July 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was concerned to learn that the government in Ukraine introduced two new bill proposals to the Parliament (Rada) which would require non-governmental organisations in the country to submit detailed financial reports. If accepted, law proposals 6674 and 6675 would withdraw the status of NGOs and seriously put in danger their independence and proper functioning.
In addition to the NGOs themselves, individuals and groups working with the NGOs would also have to provide similar financial evidence. If they failed to comply, both the organisations and their partners would face heavy fees, as well as potentially lose their non-profit status.
Additional, SEEMO members were informed that on 14 July the offices of Vesti media group in Kyiv had been raided, including Radio Vesti, newspaper Vesti and the web portal Vesti-ukr.com. It was later explained by the Chair of the Board of Directors Media Holding Vesti Ukraine that special police units halted all broadcasting and rounded up journalists in a single room in order to question them and search the contents of their mobile phones.
The raid, according to Vesti employees, came potentially as retaliation for a recent article investigating the Chief Military Prosecutor’s income and expenses. In early 2017, the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting revoked the license of the media group.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.