Ukrainian journalists up in arms over the idea of total control over the Internet


29 May 2006  Journalists have expressed strong criticism over any introduction of control of media outlets on the Internet as proposed in the last few days by the Security Service of Ukraine.

Deputy Editor of the Internet publication “Obkom”, Serhiy Sukhobok, talked of a sliding back to the mentality of Soviet days, the Ukrainian Service of Deutsche Welle reports.

Sukhobok recalled the role played by the Internet in bringing down Kuchma’s regime, and noted that the Security Service (SSU) already has the technical means to monitor everything that is published on the Internet.

On the other hand, the Director of the Media Law Institute, Taras Shevchenko, does not believe that the SSU initiative will receive wider support “since the harm from libellous remarks on the Internet is no greater than that from printed leaflets containing defamatory comments”.

Taras Shevchenko noted that incidents where influential Ukrainian media outlets have been taken to court demonstrate that the media is under the control of the law and of society. Moreover, cases involving untruthful publications by little-known Internet publications are not capable of exerting any significant influence on either politics, or society.

As reported here ( ), the Head of the Department of Special Telecommunications Systems and Protection of Information of the SSU, Kostyantyn Boiko, spoke recently of the need he perceives for state control of media outlets on the Internet.

Boiko suggested that a massive amount of work would be needed to define the criteria according to which state bodies would determine what could and what could not be published on the Internet. 

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