One more surreal court ruling in the light of freedom of speech
On Thursday, 24 September, Ukrainian websites and forums buzzed over a ruling from the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv. The Court allowed a claim brought by the organization “Batkivshchyna” which is basically Yulia Tymoshenko’s party against a person called Petro Pidlubny.
The ruling “prohibits Pidlybny and any other individuals or legal entities, regardless of their form of ownership, from placing on billboards, other forms of external advertising. Radio and television, the Internet, and electronic media outlets any “unfair” [nedobrosovisna is that which is not done with good conscience] advertisements regarding Tymoshenko’s activities”.
The prohibition is on posting any advertising clips “which contain unfair advertising regarding Tymoshenko’s activities, as well as any other unfair social advertising and publishing them in any form before a substantive consideration of the dispute”.
The advertisement which aroused the indignation of “Batkivshchyna” is indeed not flattering to Prime Minister Tymoshenko, however it is difficult to imagine a more efficient form of anti-advertising than this court ruling. The clip has now almost certainly been watched by a very large number of people. It can be viewed at http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2009/9/24/102138.htm The words are basically about what “she” said, promised, etc, with the pictures presumably intended to say it all. It ends with the sentence that if this is how “she works”, then is it not better to ensure that she rests.
A spokesperson for the Party of the Regions has already been quoted widely as proclaiming a return to censorship.