Broadcasting Council also opposes criminalization of defamation law



The National TV and Radio Broadcasting Council has endorsed a decision passed at the special session of the Inter-Departmental Working Group on freedom of speech issues. This recommends that the Verkhovna Rada cancels the results of the vote on the draft law establishing criminal liability for defamation.

The Broadcasting Council has issued a statement to this effect, so was presumably not at the meeting. It expresses its conviction that “such laws should not exist in countries with developed democracy. The adoption of this draft law will have an adverse effect on our country’s achievements in ensuring freedom of speech and will impede the development of independent journalism in Ukraine”.

As reported, on 18 September Ukraine’s parliament adopted as a base a draft law criminalizing defamation. It received 244 votes (from the three parties in the ruling majority and those connected with it).

The draft law would punish defamation with a fine of from 200 to 1500 times the minimum wage before tax, community work for up to 2 years, restriction of liberty for up to 5 years or imprisonment for up to 3 years.

Draft law No. 11013 was registered by Party of the Regions MP Vitaly Zhuravsky on 19 July. A week earlier defamation had been re-criminalized in Russia.

The adoption of this draft law in its first reading has been condemned by the Human Rights Ombudsperson Valeria Lutskovska; the National Union of Journalists; opposition parties; the National Media Union; Stop Censorship; the OSCE and Reporters without Borders and others. 

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