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20.03.2009

Internet Association of Ukraine signs Memorandum of Cooperation with Morality Commission

   

The signing took place on 20 March of a Memorandum of Cooperation on Issues of Safety in the Ukrainian Segment of the Internet between the National Expert Commission on the Protection of Public Morality [the Commission] and the Internet Association of Ukraine [IAU].

The signing was preceded by a press conference whose participants explained what they were signing and why.

V. Kostytsky, Head of the Commission stated that “We are for a clean resource, and instead of attempts to introduce moral censorship and an increase in regulatory influence, we opted fro dialogue.”

The parties took as their basis a document proposed by the Internet Association. The Head of the IAU Board Tetyana Popova acknowledged that as well as a huge amount of useful material, the Internet carries a considerable amount of unethical and sometimes illegal information, child pornography, racial discrimination, terrorism etc.

Deputy Head of the Association Oleksandr Olshansky focused on the issue of safety on the Internet in more detail. “We are extremely concerned that the image has been developed recently of the Internet as enemy, and television has not played a small role in this campaign. We are convinced that if we ourselves do not restrict unlawful material that this will be done by the State. And that is a bad prospect”.

He added that there were basically two ways of fighting for morality on the Internet: - the western approach where this is done largely by voluntary organizations, and the Chinese-eastern type, where it is the State. “The State should protect society’s moral values, but the State is us.”

Answering journalists’ questions, the participants said that they did not plan in any way to control information material in the Internet. They have found another way of helping participants in the Ukrainian segment of the Internet to obey the country’s laws. IAU will in several weeks be starting a site skarga.ua on which all Internet users can report examples of child pornography or videos of violence against children.  When several complaints appear they will be automatically redirected to the provider involved who must take the measures they see fit. “Our Association includes 86 of the largest providers in the country. I don’t know of one provider who would wish to have information about violence against children or child pornography on their sites”, Mr Olshansky stressed.

The Memorandum

Only the key points of the preamble are translated, all points of the Memorandum

… Taking into consideration the need to consolidate efforts of the public, professional parties to Ukraine’s Internet market and State bodies on ensuring safe work on the Internet, in the first instance by underage citizens of Ukraine;

Uniting efforts to create effective mechanisms of countering violations of Ukrainian legislation in the information sphere and in the sphere of protection of public morality;

Have agreed to do the following:

  1. Ensure observance of current legislation in the information sphere and in the sphere of protection of public morality. Recognize the need in the first instance of eliminating from the generally accessible Ukrainian segment of the Internet content linked with violence, child pornography, demonstrations of racial and ethnic intolerance and terrorism.
  2. Stipulate that it would be unacceptable to turn the Ukrainian segment of the Internet into a zone of total control given the approach of democratic countries in placing the responsibility for violations in the information sphere on the producer and those directly responsible for placing the information;
  3. Pay attention that blocking of access to Internet resources which infringe Ukrainian legislation should be in strict accordance with the Law on telecommunications and the Cabinet of Ministers Resolution from 9 August 2005, No. 720 “On approving the Rules for providing and receiving telecommunication services”. Such blocking must be solely of unlawful content without impeding access to other content, including that physically placed on the same information carrier;
  4. Recommend that Internet providers inform their subscribers of their duties and accepted norms of behaviour in the Internet, widely promote among their subscribers the use of programmes of automatic blocking of resources of an immoral nature, as well as widely introduce and promote services on blocking access to the relevant resources for particular users at their request.
  5. Appeal to the owners and administration of popular Internet resources to promote the posting on their resources of material informing visitors of safe ways of using the Internet, as well as references to programmes which make it possible for users to automatically block resources which do not comply with Ukraine’s legislation on protection of public morality;
  6. Promote the creation of a civic organization for safe Internet which would exist on a voluntary basis and promote the elimination from the Internet of material which violates Ukraine’s legislation on protection of public morality. Recommend that the civic organization, in cooperation with the relevant state bodies, consider a system of voluntary certification and State registration of Internet resources for children in the form of a Zone of Trust in the Ukrainian segment of the Internet and circulation of information about such certification.
  7. Consider expedient to include educational material regarding children’s safety within the Internet in present school curricula for children aged from 7 to 14, as well as programmes for training and professional development of teachers, bearing in mind decisions of the Commission.
  8. Establish that the Internet Association when resolving issues linked with the formation of a system of ensuring protection of the moral principles of society, will cooperate with the Commission on covering the activities of the Commission, determining as priority the highest social values – the human being, his life and health, honour and dignity, inviolability and safety.
  9. Within the framework of cooperation the Parties will swiftly react to each other’s statements and appeals.
  10. Information received through the implementation of this Memorandum may, on the consent of the Party which provided it, be made accessible for all those interested.
  11. The Memorandum takes force on its signing and for a period of 2 years.
  12. In the event of the adoption of legislation which makes it impossible to carry out particular provisions of this Memorandum, the Parties should be freed from any further obligations under this Memorandum.
  13. The Memorandum is drawn up in two copies on three sheets, one for each Party.

Signed by

T.V. Popova, Internet Association of Ukraine

V.V. Kostytsky  National Expert Commission on the Protection  of Public Morality

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