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Saturday, March 6, 1999 Published at 12:51 GMT

World: Europe

Ukraine accused of gagging press

The international press rights organisation, Reporters Sans Frontieres Reporters Without Borders, has called on the Ukrainian authorities to halt attempts to silence the independent media ahead of the presidential elections due in October.

The organisation said that since the beginning of the year four journalists had been assaulted and one detained, while two opposition newspapers had been closed down and two independent television stations put under pressure.

It called on European institutions to persuade Kiev to allow the Ukrainian media to cover the elections objectively. International observers at last year's general elections in Ukraine said they were marred by violence, abuse of power and impartial media reports.

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