The freedom of expression in Ukraine


1. The freedom of expression in Ukraine

Moderator: Roman Romanov, the International Foundation “Vidrodjennia”.

Plenary report: Mykola Tomenko.

Participants of the session:

Natalya Ligachova, “Telekritika”. The right for information as a precondition of the professional activities of journalists. Ways and means of protection and self-protection.

Valeriy Ivanov, the Academy of the Ukrainian press. Monitoring of the state of the freedom of the press in Ukraine.

Oleksandr Chekmyshev, a deputy manager of the Institute of journalism of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, the head of the committee “Rivnist mozhlivostey”. Manipulations in the sphere of mass communication and the technologies of counteraction.

Oleksiy Svetikov, the head of the Lugansk branch of the Voters’ Committee of Ukraine. The European perspective as a way for the protection of the freedom of speech: the Lugansk experience.

Jan Chaykovskiy, the philosophic and culturology magazine “I ”, Lviv. The myth about the freedom of speech in Ukraine.

Mykola Kozyrev, the Public committee for the protection of the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens, Lugansk. The freedom of speech on the background of the monitoring of district newspapers of the Lugansk oblast.

Olena Volochay, the all-Ukrainian Independent Association of Judges. The institute of respect to court.

Oleg Tseluyko, the KhG. What will be the jurisprudence of the European court on human rights concerning the freedom of expressing the opinions in the Internet?

Five conferees took part in the discussion.

One can observe the informational war of the Ukrainian power against its own people. More and more frequent journalists obtain the information from one source, and the informational messages of different TV channels are like as two peas in a pod. So, the monitoring of the editorial policy is necessary to learn whether the messages satisfy the modern informational standards. On the other hand, the power wages the war against the journalists, who try to fulfill their professional duty conscientiously. The political opposition is isolated from the most influential mass media; this fact was confirmed by the monitoring conducted by the Academy of the Ukrainian press. The president’s clique brutally meddles in the work of the organ, which, according to its status, should be absolutely independent – the National council in charge of TV and radio broadcasting. The situation in the Parliament does not allow to hope for the adoption of new, perfect laws. The main goal today is the prevention of the approval of the law drafts, which groundlessly restrict human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the elaboration of new drafts for the future. The self-regulation of journalistic community must be also reformed: in particular, the trade unions should unite the majority of journalists and protect journalists’ professional rights.

The future election campaign is the most important question today. The efforts of the society should be concentrated on the conduction of honest and transparent election. The Council of Europe offered to send the long-term monitoring mission for the supervision over the Presidential election. The role of mass media during an election campaign is extremely significant.

So, we need:

–  the systematical monitoring of the freedom of expression, the regular consultations for mass media and journalists and the legal protection of them;

–  the analysis of all court practices concerning the application of censorship;

–  the familiarization of the society with the law against the censorship, which was adopted in the beginning of April 2003;

–  the adequate reaction of the society to every violation of the freedom of speech;

–  the special program of legal support of mass media in the connection with the coming election campaign (if the election would not be abolished, of course);

–  the moratorium on tax and other checks of mass media (like those that were conducted during the last election).

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