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16.11.2009

Appeal to parliamentarians over inadequate law on child pornography

   

The Verkhovna Rada is preparing to consider in its second reading the draft law “On amendments to some legislative acts (on countering the spread of child pornography) which, for examples, contains an addition to the Law on Telecommunications stating that “operators and telecommunication providers shall restrict the access of their customers to resources which spread unlawful information content in accordance with a court order.”

We would point out that there is no reference to child pornography in the above-mentioned addition. This is effectively about the imposition of a mechanism for restricting access to information not defined by the Law since the legal construction “unlawful information content” is not defined either by the Law on Information or the Law on Telecommunications, or any other law. It is unclear on what grounds a court will establish that content is unlawful. The norm thus flagrantly violates Article 34 of the Constitution and opens possibilities for manipulation and abuse (including abuse of the law). It will prompt the authorities to violate Article 19 § 2 of the Constitution since it will make it possible for officials at their own discretion to determine whether something is unlawful.

We support your noble wish to put an end to the preparation and circulation of child pornography, however consider that draft laws must not be passed which run counter to the Constitution. We urge you to not consider the draft law in the version prepared for second reading, but send it away for a repeat reading.

 

Arkady Bushchenko, Head of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Board

Yevhen Zakharov, Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group

Kostyantin Reutsky, Head of the Board of the Human Rights Centre “Postup”

Natalya Belizer, the Pilip Orlyk Institute for Democracy, Kyiv

Maria Yasenovska, President of the Kharkiv regional foundation “Civic Alternative”

The nationwide youth organizations “Foundation of Regional Activities

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