The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Miklos Haraszti, and representatives for the Council of Europe and the European Commission, called on Ukraine today to continue efforts to create a free press and a media law in line with OSCE principles and Council of Europe standards, according to the information of the OSCE office in Kyiv.

In a statement issued after an OSCE-organized High Level Policy Meeting on media legislation reform, the representatives said that state regulatory bodies tasked with creating a free and transparent media environment needed to be strengthened, and that an independent public service broadcaster needed to be created. Other recommendations included promoting transparency in media ownership, better access to public information and de-nationalizing mass media.

Representatives of governmental institutions regulating media policy and responsible for media legislation reform in Ukraine, and representatives of the country`s NGO sector also participated in the meeting, which aimed to analyze the progress made by Ukraine in bringing its legislation into line with European standards and co-ordinate future efforts.

"Ukraine has played an avant-garde role among the OSCE participating States with its early reform to decriminalise defamation. I hope that the country will continue to fulfil this pioneering role and carry out the reform process in media legislation areas as well.

 The OSCE is ready to support Ukraine in this important endeavour," Haraszti said.

For the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine, the meeting marks the conclusion of a project that aimed to improve mass media legislation. The Denmark-based NGO "International Media Support" helped implement the project, which was financed by the Danish government.

Todd Becker, a Senior Project Manager at the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine, added that the topics discussed at the meeting had been on the agenda for several years.

"Indeed, local as well as international experts have largely done their job. However, the real results have been delayed due to lack of political will in the country," he said.