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05.03.2012

Morality Law back on parliamentary agenda

   

On 15 March the Verkhovna Rada is due to consider a resolution withdrawing Draft Law № 7132 on amendments to the Law on Protection of Public Morality. 

According to the regulations, if the resolution is not supported, then the actual draft law will be considered at its second reading.

As reported, in February the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information recommended that the Verkhovna Rada pass a resolution removing the draft law and cancelling the decision to pass it in its first reading.

This proposal was supported by eight of the members of the Committee present, namely: Olena Bondarenko; Olena Kondratyuk; Mykola Bahraev; Oleksy Fedun and Yury Stets. It was opposed by Viktor Ukolov, while two members – Oleksandr Holub and Volodymyr Landik – abstained.

As reported, draft Law № 7132  on Amendments to the Law on the Protection of Public Morality was adopted in its first reading on 18 October.  It had been clear for some months that the dissolution of the National Expert Commission on Public Morality announced by the President in December 2010 was not to happen, however the new draft law includes all the elements already criticized here on many occasions, and more.

Statements of concern have been issued by both Ukrainian and international NGOs, for example, Stop Censorship (see the translation here), Reporters without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists  The draft law has been criticized by many, including the National TV and Radio Broadcasting Council and State TV and Radio Broadcasting Council.

On Wednesday the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union issued an appeal to the members of the Committee on Freedom of Speech to ask parliament to reject the draft bill  It stated: “In its present form this draft law is in breach of provisions of Ukraine’s Constitution, restricts human rights and freedoms, introduces censorship of the Internet and obliges providers without even a court order to block content which the National Commission for the Protection of Public Morality may consider harmful to public morality”

Information about 15 March from the Institute for Mass Information

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