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Journalists protest speech by Yanukovych on press freedom

KIEV, Ukraine -- About a dozen Ukrainian journalists have risen from their seats and held up posters against government censorship during President Viktor Yanukovych's speech on press freedom at a newspaper conference.

Yanukovych spoke Monday at the opening of the annual World Newspaper Congress in the Ukrainian capital amid concerns over declining media freedoms in the ex-Soviet nation.

As soon as Yanukovych began his speech, a handful of journalists rose and held up posters reading “Stop Censorship.” Yanukovych did not react to the protest and there was no immediate comment from his office.

Media watchdogs say that press freedoms have waned since Yanukovych came to power in 2010. Jacob Mathew, president of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, urged Ukrainian authorities to “regain freedoms that sustain democracy and human dignity.”

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