Kiev off

The UK government has said it will not tolerate Ukrainian membership of the European Union or NATO "until journalists receive satisfactory protection in Ukraine". The warning to Ukraine was made by Denis MacShane, UK minister for Europe, responding to a letter about the killing of Gyorgy Gongadze organised by the NUJ and signed by prominent journalists.


The case "remains a high priority for UK policy", MacShane said. In April, he raised it personally with Ukrainian foreign affairs minister Chaliy, while the UK Lord Chancellor, Derry Irvine, discussed the Gongadze and Aleksandrov cases with Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn.

"We also continue to work through multilateral fora, especially the Council of Europe, for solutions to these cases and to other problems related to media freedom in Ukraine," MacShane added.

"Ukraine hopes to integrate eventually into both NATO and the EU. While we support Ukraine in these ambitions, we have made it very clear that until journalists receive satisfactory protection in Ukraine, membership of these bodies remains out of the question."

The joint letter to which MacShane was responding was signed by BBC foreign affairs editor John Simpson, Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson, Observer editor Roger Alton and eight MPs.

The letter was initiated by Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, which has spearheaded a campaign in the UK for an independent international inquiry into the Gongadze case. The text is at www.londonfreelance.org/gongadze/deartony.html.

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