The Verkhovna Rada has adopted the draft law, introducing criminal penalties for illegal denial of access of journalists to information.
The relevant decision was supported on Thursday by 240 of 308 MPs registered in the session hall.
The law stipulates that the violation of the secrecy of correspondence, telephone conversations, telegraph and other communications, if committed repeatedly or against state or public figures, journalists, or committed by an official, or with the use of special tools, intended for secretly recording information, shall be punished by imprisonment from three to seven years.
In addition, it was found that the unlawful removal of the collected, processed, prepared by journalist materials and equipment, which they use in connection with his professional activities, unlawful refusal to journalists' access to information, the illegal ban on coverage of individual topics, showing individuals, criticism of the subject of power, as well as any other journalist hindering the implementation of their professional activities are punishable by a fine of up to 50 tax-free minimum incomes, or arrest for up to six months, or restraint of liberty for up to three years.
Any form of influence on journalists in order to prevent them from fulfilling professional duties, or persecution of journalists for their legitimate professional activities, is punishable by a fine of up to 200 tax-free minimum incomes, or arrest for up to six months, or restraint of liberty for up to four years.
Actions envisaged in Part 2 Article 171, if committed by an official exercising his authority, or conspiracy of a group of persons, shall be punished by a fine between 200 and 500 tax-free minimum incomes, or restraint of liberty for up to five years, with disqualification to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to three years or without such ban.