President Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday, Journalism Day, spoke to Ukrainian journalists in his secretariat, the President’s press office informs.

Yushchenko thanked them for their “professional commitment, courage and loyal service to the Ukrainian people and the state.” “We are proud of many Ukrainian journalists. We are proud of many heroic journalists who have sacrificed not only their energy and efforts but even their lives to give us a chance to speak about… freedom, democracy and human values in Ukraine,” he said.

The president said Ukraine “needs new and modern media policies,” calling on journalists to work hard “not to discredit the professional standards achieved in 2004.”

Yushchenko said it was vital to guarantee press freedom. “I see it as my priority to create free, independent and uncensored public television,” he said, adding that “it is time we stopped talking and started working.” “I am ready to support and help implement a systemic, rational and realistic model of public television. I am looking forward to your proposals.”

The president said journalists should remember that press freedom was not only their privilege but also their obligation to be unbiased and accurate. He described financial independence as a key to political neutrality and said there were a few truly impartial media outlets supported by foreign investors. “There should be more such examples, particularly in the regions. Ukraine’s media market must be strong and independent.”

“Your civic commitment, impartiality and economic independence make you a full-fledged estate in Ukraine,” he said. “I believe in your strength, respect your hard work and want you to continue working for the sake of the independent Ukraine.”


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