Morality Commission takes a selective approach to media openness


The National Expert Commission for the Protection of Public Morality at its meeting on 28 May adopted rules of journalist accreditation at Commission meetings. A journalist from the publication “Telekritika’ was not allowed to see the rules themselves. Points of the decision passed by the Commission were also not made public.

From the discussion it is clear that the list of journalists who are to receive accreditation, will be approved by name at meetings of the Commission. Of the documents which members of the Commission use at the meetings, journalists will be shown only the agenda and decisions after they have been passed.

It should be mentioned that a very large part of the work of the Commission is in the form of “opinions” which are often not formalized through Commission meetings making it unclear whether their results have been discussed by the members themselves, and the status of such opinions.

At the same meeting, the Commission decided to instruct the Commission’s Secretariat to carry out monitoring of the printed press to check adherence to the Law on the Protection of Public Morality. What prompted this was a speech made by member of the Commission Petro Kononenko, who called on the members to pay attention to the articles by Oles Buzyna in the newspaper “Segodnya” [“Today”].

He stated that “In this newspaper they discredit well-known Ukrainian figures and choose all the worst things from our history.”

During the discussion one heard both measured opinions from members of the Commission regarding independence of editorial policy in the Ukrainian media, and categorical calls “to not pussyfoot about, and to do something”. A compromise decision was worded about general monitoring of the Ukrainian press, with this being voted for unanimously.

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