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Human Rights Watch published a report on censorship in Ukraine in March 2003, "Negotiating The News: Informal State Censorship of Ukrainian Television." The following month, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma took steps towards guaranteeing freedom of expression. On April 24, 2003, President Kuchma ordered the Prosecutor General's Office to drop criminal cases against five local newspapers that had been charged with publishing material that "undermined the president's authority" and "prevented him from carrying out his professional duties." Four days later President Kuchma signed into law a bill designed to provide additional protections for the media. The law defines censorship, makes it a criminal offense for government officials to deliberately intervene in the work of journalists, and limits the financial penalties that can be demanded from journalists in defamation suits.

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