Ukrainian party “the Opposition platform For life” (opsi) demanded to withdraw the resonance of the Verkhovna Rada the draft law “On media”. Deputies OPSG believe that the document is aimed at the legalization of censorship and destruction of freedom of speech. A similar view is shared by Ukrainian journalists. The essence of their claims is reduced to the inadmissibility of strengthening of control over the media through restrictive measures and blocking of online platforms. The initiator of the bill — part of the “servant of the people”. According to experts, due to tightening legislation Vladimir Zelensky expects to reduce the amount of criticism in the address.
Ukrainian party “the Opposition platform For life” (opsi) criticized the bill No. 2693 “On the media”, which promotes MPs from the presidential party “servant of the people”. In opsi a document called a “dictatorial” reproaching its initiators in seeking to destroy the country’s freedom of speech, to control the media and eliminate dissent.
“as a result of the so-called improvements, the bill still contains the most dictatorial rules. Contrary to the Constitution, we-the government is trying to legitimize censorship, to expand the powers of the National Council on television and radio for regulation of the entire information space. To turn this completely state-controlled body in a whip for independent journalism”, — said the press service of the party “Opposition platform For life”.
In opzz demanded that the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, the government and the party “servant of the people” to stop the assault on freedom of speech. From the point of view of opposition MPs, the document “should be removed from the agenda of Parliament as anti-democratic and does not meet the standards of a modern civilized state.”
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Initiative bill No. 2693 belongs to the current Minister of culture of Ukraine (previously the MP from the party “servant of the people”), Alexander Tkachenko, parliamentarians from the same party Nikita Poturaev, Eugene Kravchuk and others. The first version of the document was prepared at the end of 2019 and subsequently improved.
29 Jun Ukrainian the Internet-the edition “Strenia” published excerpts from the updated version of the bill No. 2693 “On the media”, which will be submitted to the Parliament after 1 July. As journalists write, the document has not changed significantly, but the most controversial was the norm, on the contrary, strengthened.
“Strenia” notes that the new bill, like its predecessors, significantly expands the powers of the National Council on television and radio broadcasting. The Supervisory authority should have the right to appeal to a variety of online platforms and POIskovin systems with the requirement to limit access to information, media resources, to which was applied any sanctions.
In addition, as journalists, it is proposed to give the Council the authority to impose fines, deny a media license and registration, and to prohibit the online-media in Ukraine. However, for all of the above, in addition to fines, the regulator will have to obtain a decision of the court.
There is in the bill and list of violations that entail the imposition of sanctions.
So, among other things, the bill forbids to mention in a positive context, Communist leaders of the USSR and Soviet authorities, and to promote state institutions, “the aggressor country” (referring to the Russian Federation). Also, the media and bloggers are not entitled to show disregard for the state language of Ukraine, to deny or cast doubt on the “occupation” of the Ukrainian territory.
In addition, according to “Strenia” in the near future, the national Council on television and radio broadcasting expects reorganization and staffing update — half of the members of the Supervisory body will be dismissed. In the end, this institution should be under the control of the office of the President.
Source RT, the party of “Servant of the people” claims that promoting the reform of the media environment, personal interest Vladimir Zelensky. The falling rating of the President of Ukraine hopes to strengthen the control over media and social networks, where there is a growing volume of criticism in his address.
“the President obviously believes that tightening control over the media will not allow reporters to print the ugly truth. I think that the Western partners of Kiev support Ukrainian media on this issue and will not take the controversial bill. They, of course, many questions look through your fingers, but even for them it is too much,” says the source RT.
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Bill No. 2693 in the previous version caused a negative reaction in the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe. In the OSCE believe that the document should be brought in line with international standards to avoid negative impact on media freedom.
The organization called on the initiators of the bill to clarify restrictions on the dissemination of information concerning issues of national security. In addition, the OSCE believe that the sanctions should relate to content and not platforms that distribute it.
At the end of June an updated version of bill No. 2693 was criticized by the professional community of Ukraine. More than a hundred anchors and journalists with different political views signed the open letter to Vladimir Zelensky, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Radas Dmitry Razumkova and heads of parliamentary committees. In it, they pointed to the danger of the spread of censorship and giving institutions the authority to “establish the truth”.
Journalists drew attention to the vague wording and overly broad powers that can be granted to state agencies, including the national Council for radio and television. According to them, they go beyond “the limits determined by the Constitution of Ukraine”.
“the bill provides for the ability to block anyone online, even if it’s not the media … and the ability to cancel the registration of the media on the basis of very broadly stated the reasons that could lead to a ban of all media content for an indefinite time” — complained to reporters.
In turn, the Chairman of the National Union of journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), Sergei Tomilenko said that bill No. 2693 aimed “to protect the government from journalists” through the imposition of sanctions and control over the dissemination of information and opinions.
“make more regulation of media at a time when the country is some independent media, stop the activity, while others reduce the volume and fire workers, is to demonstrate the absolute insensitivity of the government to the real needs of society,” wrote Tomilenko in Facebook.
The head of the NUJU called the national Council for television and radio broadcasting “politically biased body”. According to him, the Institute “there were no representatives directly from the media, journalists or defender of freedom of speech.”
In NUJU demand to withdraw the bill from consideration of the Verkhovna Rada. The organization said that the updated document is saved “idea of establishing megacentres over all media” and ignored the arguments of the professional community.
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The source RT in the party “Batkivshchyna” considers that Zelensky and his entourage perceive the work of journalists as an obstacle to political activity.
“the Office of the President does not like what the media regularly publish compromising materials about the current ruling elite. So literally started hounding journalists. For example, the head of the office of the President Andrey Ermak initiates now criminal liability for the publication of secret talks between officials”, — said the representative of “Batkivshchyna”.
The source RT in the party “European solidarity” doubts that bill No. 2693 will pass through the Parliament and will be eventually signed Zelensky. According to him, in case of adoption of the document “the President will have to explain Western leaders reasons to support the blatantly undemocratic norms.”
In comments to RT, Director of the Kiev Institute and��Aliza and management policy Ruslan Bortnik emphasized that the announced reform of the media causes irritation in society and has little chance of adoption. Persistent promotion of the bill by the representatives of the party “servant of the people”, the analyst explained the desire of the authorities to put additional pressure on the media.
“the Government is trying to make journalists in one way or another manual and dependent. The current oppressive atmosphere creates the feeling that somebody in the government is beneficial to curb disloyal media and to ensure, to some extent state control over the media,” says Bortnik.
A little differently looking at the situation the President of the center of system analysis and forecasting Rostislav Ishchenko. In an interview with RT, he said that Zelensky is unlikely to receive significant benefit from the adoption of the draft law on media. According to the expert, the President is rapidly losing the support of society and tightening control over the media will not allow to reverse this trend.
“Zelensky, despite his television past, to the fighters for the freedom of speech will not be recorded. Yes, before coming to power he is on stage laughing at all the politicians and oligarchs of the country. But it was freedom of speech, which arranged for him Kolomoisky. And as the head of the state Zelensky perfectly integrated into the system, which is aimed at propaganda of Russophobia and the suppression of dissent,” — said Ishchenko.