Advocacy and legal support

While the climate for freedom of speech in Ukraine progresses, journalist rights still come under threat. Internews partners in Ukraine provide ongoing legal support and advocacy for journalists that protects their right to access information and to freely draft, edit, publish and present news. With support from the U-Media project, Internews partners can effectively provide high quality support to help protect journalists, editors and citizens.


  • Regional Press Development Institute (RPDI) administered a telephone hotline for journalists during the local elections in October 2015. Sixty-nine legal consultations for journalists were conducted during the election. The most frequently-asked questions addressed vote-buying; general electoral violations; candidate recalls; law enforcement presence at polling stations; and, journalist rights during ballot counting at the precinct, district and central election commissions.

  • In addition to jointly administering the election hotline, the RPDI offers legal assistance to journalists through court representation. From October 2015 to March 2016, RPDI attorneys provided help to journalists on 227 occasions. RPDI lawyers also provided over 450 pro bono verbal consultations (by telephone and in-person); won six court cases on behalf of their media clients; and, submitted two applications to the European Court for Human Rights on behalf of Ukrainian journalists.

  • The Center for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM) provides ongoing counsel to journalists to improve their legal awareness and knowledge. Counsel topics include online media defamation, access to MPs’ asset declarations, anonymous sources in video reports, investigative reporters’ security and digital television. The CDRL team administers a Frequently Asked Questions section on its website to address important legal issues and provide research and information on Ukrainian media reform.

    CDRL lawyers provide counsel to online media organizations and television channels to explain media destatization, public broadcasting reform and Independent Media Council support activity. CDRL also conducts an annual Summer Media Law Institute program for journalists, media scholars and lawyers from countries in Eurasia and Europe, including Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Poland.

  • The Independent Association of Broadcasters provided 42 legal consultations via their telephone hotline in late 2015 and early 2016 covering a variety of media-related issues to journalists and editors at regional broadcasting companies.

  • CEDEM and RPDI attorneys offer both legal review of media content and subsequent counsel to investigative journalists for lawsuit protection, especially against legal actions alleging defamation against reporters investigating official corruption. CEDEM and RPDI media lawyers monitor existing and new parliamentary legislation for press freedom violations.