BBG Watch Commentary
The main Voice of America English news website is not reporting as of 7:00 PM ET Thursday on the U.S. State Department’s reaction to the passage of undemocratic legislation in the Ukrainian parliament which would restrict public protests and activities of non-governmental organizations.
The State Department expressed “deep concern” about the the law which bans any unauthorized installation of tents, stages or amplifiers in public places and also puts restrictions on funding for NGOs, including those which advocate for human rights. To become effective, the law still requires President Yanukovich’s signature. A similar law restricting activities of NGOs was passed in Russia.
A written statement by State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was released a few hours ago in Washington, but it has not been reported on by the majority of VOA services.
“The United States expresses its deep concern that the Ukrainian Rada pushed through several controversial measures today without adhering to proper procedures,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said. “Some of these measures will restrict the right to peacefully protest and exercise the freedom of speech, constrain independent media, and inhibit the operation of NGOs,” the State Department pointed out.
The main Voice of America English news website did not originate its own report on the passage of the controversial legislation in Ukraine today but instead posted a report from Reuters. The Reuters report includes a reaction to the restrictive legislation from the EU’s ambassador to Ukraine, Jan Tombinsky. The Reuters report on the VOA English news website does not mention any U.S. reactions to the legislation.
This report on VOA’s main news website has not been updated for a few hours.
The VOA Ukrainian Service did report on the State Department’s reaction, but the majority of other VOA services have nothing on it on their websites as of 7PM ET Thursday. The VOA Russian Service posted a report from Reuters on the passage of undemocratic legislation in Ukraine, but, like many other VOA services, it has not reported on the U.S. State Department’s reaction.
16 January 2014
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
January 16, 2014
STATEMENT BY JEN PSAKI, SPOKESPERSON
The United States expresses its deep concern that the Ukrainian Rada pushed through several controversial measures today without adhering to proper procedures. Some of these measures will restrict the right to peacefully protest and exercise the freedom of speech, constrain independent media, and inhibit the operation of NGOs. If Ukraine truly aspires to a European future, it must defend and advance universal democratic principles and values that underpin a Europe whole, free, and at peace, and not allow them to be systematically dismantled.
We call on the Government of Ukraine to ensure its legislation reflects Ukraine’s democratic commitments to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the wishes of its people to exercise their fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly, and association. Both the process and the substance of the Rada’s actions today cast serious doubt on Ukraine’s commitment to democratic norms. A true democracy cannot function without dialogue, compromise, the right to peaceful dissent, and a legislature that enjoys the people’s trust.