Premier: Freedom of speech must not be restricted
"The freedom of speech must not be restricted in Ukraine," Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said, meeting with representatives of the National Union of Journalists in Kyiv on Friday.
"The freedom of speech is a fundamental value which we reclaimed in the course of sociopolitical transformations, and certainly we should never lose it or restrict it," Azarov said. At the same time, he demanded that media reports be trustworthy and comments unbiased. "This is the key aspect. The government does not ask you to praise its actions or support its reforms. One can either discredit the essence of the transformations or draw public attention to real problems. We would be grateful for such criticism," Azarov said. According to him, the freedom of speech is not a freedom for paid journalism. "Let's see the difference and draw a clear line between them," he said. He slammed the opposition for the speeches delivered by opposition MPs during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos. "Our opposition representatives lamented about "flourishing corruption in Ukraine" and warned against investing in Ukraine which, they said, "is ruled by criminals". No other country was humiliated by its own representatives! The opposition can say anything they like inside the country, but they must represent it favorably at international meetings. How can they call themselves patriots and say that they care for the well-being of the people and the country, while actually hating this country and tightening a rope around its neck?" Azarov said.