FOREIGN FIRMS CRITICIZE INVESTMENT CLIMATE IN UKRAINE. Top foreign investors have complained about the investment climate in Ukraine at a meeting of the Foreign Investments Advisory Council in Kiev, AP reported on 14 June. The council, which includes representatives of 23 top international corporations and banks as well as President Leonid Kuchma and other Ukrainian leaders, was set up in 1997 to promote investments. "There's a general feeling that executive government in not functioning properly," Andrew Seton from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development noted. Seton cited such obstacles to investment as state interference in the private sector, excessive state regulation, and tax collection at the regional level that is "not consistent with [investors'] understanding of the tax regulations in Ukraine." Kuchma pledged to do his utmost to transform Ukraine into an attractive post-Soviet country in terms of investment, according to Interfax. JM

COUNCIL OF EUROPE CITES AZERBAIJAN, RUSSIA, UKRAINE FOR MEDIA VIOLATIONS. Council of Europe (COE) media ministers have cited Azerbaijan, Russia, and Ukraine for failing to respect the commitments on press freedom they made when they signed the European Convention on Human Rights. In defiance of repeated council recommendations, these countries are "still seriously violating press freedom. In the Caucasian Republic of Chechnya (Russia)...laws of exclusion substantially reduce freedom. In Ukraine, media which criticize the government are still subjected to financial and political pressure, while the government's power is being reinforced. Of the three states whose applications to join the council are being considered--Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina--Azerbaijan is the only one that still applies repressive measures to the media, the COE said. (Council of Europe Press Release, 13 June)

IREX CREATES WEB SITE ON MEDIA WORK. A new web site offers news about the ProMedia II program (financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development) in 10 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Created by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), the site is located at IREX is conducting ProMedia II activities in Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Ukraine. ProMedia II activities are conducted in Georgia by the International Center for Journalists. Information on that program can be found at: (International Journalists' Network, 5-9 June)

CAUCASUS INTERNET COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM LAUNCHED. Project Harmony, a not-for-profit professional exchange and training organization with offices in the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia, is initiating a one-year program to promote the Internet as a democracy-building and community organizing tool in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The Internet Community Development Program (ICD) will foster two online communities, one on business support and another on refugee issues and assistance to IDPs (internally displaced persons). The ICD will develop the capacity of local professionals to develop online resources, to administer information services (online newsletters and discussion lists), and to organize interactive online events (web chats and teleconferences). Thirty professionals will be trained to develop and administer online communities. More than 50 online events will be organized for each community and approximately 30 new local-language online resources will be created. e-mail to: with subject line ICD. (Center for Civil Society Initiatives, 8 June)

RADIO B2-92 NEWS REBROADCAST IN UKRAINE. Radio Inicijativa in Lavrov will begin rebroadcasting new programs from Radio B2-92, ANEM's flagship station. The Belgrade station was taken off the air by the Serbian government a month ago, the fourth time the station has been banned. Radio B2-92 news in English will be heard on Radio Inicijativa, 102.5 MHz FM, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 6:50 pm and 7 pm (satellite broadcast) and in Ukrainian (translation of the day's top stories) between 9 pm and 9:10 pm. Translations of Radio B2-92 news will also be presented by Boris Varga in his current affairs program, "Balkan Express." This is the first collaboration between Ukrainian and Yugoslav independent media after the successful launch of Radio B2-92 news on Radio Tilos in Budapest in May. Radio B2-92 is building a network of radio stations which will improve the flow of information throughout the region. The ultimate aim is to establish a network which will erase borders and make repression of information in any part of Central and Southeastern Europe futile. (ANEM Report, 12 June)