Media organizations call for disbanding of Morality Commission
The National Journalists Union, the Ukrainian Association of Press Publishers, the Industrial Television Committee, the Independent Association of Broadcasters and the Internet Association of Ukraine have called on parliament to revoke the Law on the Protection of Public Morality and dissolve the National Expert Commission for the Protection of Public Morality [the Commission].
Their appeal was signed during a conference on Ukraine’s media and the problems of state regulation on 18 May. The Head of the Commission, Vasyl Kostytsky, was present. He responded by saying that maybe he should resign, but that he was convinced that such a body was needed.
In their letter, the organizations stress that “one of the main tasks of the government is to ensure citizens’ right of access to different information and freedom of expression.
We are convinced that the exercising of this right involves helping the public to have access to quality literature, theatre and cinema, ensuring freedom of expression”.
“We object to the use of public funding to finance censorship of the Ukrainian media, works by writers, artists, etc. During an economic crisis public funding is particularly needed to support culture, book publishing and the media. Yet the government annually finances the Commission’s bureaucratic machine, and for 2010 more than 4 million UAH have been allocated.
We consider that only the Ukrainian people are the bearers of moral values, and that the transferring of this exclusive right to any artificially created body like the National Expert Commission for the Protection of Public Morality is an attack on the fundamental constitutional rights of citizens and an attempt to foist an imposed morality.”
The statement asserts that there are already controlling bodies responsible for protecting minors, fighting pornography and dishonest advertising. They therefore call on the Deputies of the Verkhovna Rada to make amendments to legislation “for the prohibition of a body of censorship existing on public funding under the guise of protection of universal Ukrainian values”.
They call on professional associations in other fields to support this open call for the dissolution of the National Expert Commission for the Protection of Public Morality.
From a report and the statement in full at: http://www.telekritika.ua/news/2010-05-18/53043