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7. Freedom of Expression


[1]

1. Statistical data

   During 10 months of 2013 41 complaints of violations of freedom of expression by the authorized public persons were added to the monitoring map[2]. For comparison: in 2012 there were 76 such cases. In these years, the largest number of violations of freedom of expression was registered in July. The complaints come mostly from Kyiv. There were also many incidents, when there was an alleged interference of public authorities, but this was not proved.

   For 10 months in 2013 the Institute of Mass Media registered[3] 74 cases of attacks against journalists and threats against them (65 cases for the entire 2012), 115 cases of putting obstacles in the way of journalistic activities, 40 cases of censorship and 39 cases of political and economic pressure.

   2. Overview

   The greatest number of violations the IMM registered in the category “impeding legal professional journalism”.

   The second biggest number was registered in the category of “threats and attacks against journalists”. The number of these violations has increased and the type of threats has changed. Increasingly, the instruments of these violations included not the representatives of the government, but allegedly the “athletic young men” hired by them.

   There is also a rising new type of pressure on journalists and the media: cybercrimes (tampering computers, remote data storage services, DOS attacks on the web servers).

   The number and variety of subjects of violations of the freedom of expression increased as well (without the help of the media).

   The practice of closing down or seizure of the local government channels continued.

   After the change of ownership there were employment layoffs of journalists in Correspondent, Forbes Ukraine[4] and TVi because of disagreement with the new editorial policy.

   According to the monitoring by “Telekritika”, the number of materials in the media with the signs of sponsored articles (censorship) in 2013 remained on the level of 2012.

   However, there are positive developments, too.

   In 2013, the public fight of media for their rights due to mass awareness of threats to the profession intensified. The professional trade unions are expanding. For example, the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine has created new organizations in Chernivtsi, Lviv, Kremenchuk, and Kerch.

Due to the active position of the journalist unions an important precedent was set for punishment for the attack against journalists under article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which had been actually dead earlier.

   The journalists of UNIAN with the help of trade unions and international media organizations set an example of successful opposition to the owner’s censorship. In Kerch, the journalists of the Breeze Broadcasting Company founded the trade union and were able to effectively oppose[5] the attempts to take away the plot of land the radio transmission tower had been built on.

   During the year, a number of trials took place in which the courts protected the right of journalists to freedom of expression and did not satisfy the claims of government and public institutions about spreading false information.

   3. Freedom of speech and legislative initiatives

   In 2013 the Law no. 409 -VII “On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine to ensure transparency regarding ownership of the media”[6] was adopted and entered into force. The law specifies mandatory indication in the application for the state registration of the printed media of the data on the legal or natural person who controls the founder (co-founder), owner (owners) of the printed media as well as a legal entity which is controlled by the founder, owner (co-owner). At that, the above control means the direct or through related persons ownership of shares (stocks) that deliver 50% or more votes in the supreme organ of the legal person, which is the founder (co-founder) of the printed media.

   During 2013 several bills important to ensure freedom of expression were also introduced.

  The draft law no. 3396 “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning Improvement of Legislation on the Elections” Submitted for the second reading contains the extension of liability for breach of campaigning not only to the media but also to the news agencies, as well as distributes the power to impose fines on offenders between the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio and the State Committee in Television and Radio-Broadcasting of Ukraine.

   The project improves the norm specifying the liability for violation of the electoral law by mass media or news agency. Thus, in addition to the license suspension and prohibition of publishing of the printed matter the law introduces the suspension of the news agency, if it relates to such breach. If a court, when considering an election dispute finds the violation the respective media or news agency the central district election commissions may issue a warning which will be published by the CEC and commissions in the printed media, on the official website of the CEC and publicized by the said media or news agency.

   The project aims to provide equal opportunities obliging distributors of outdoor advertising to ensure equal access and facilities for parties, and nominees to placement of campaign materials using outdoor advertising media.

The draft law no. 3577 "On Amending the Law of Ukraine " On state support of mass media and social protection of journalists” aims to strengthen social protection of the personnel of the media, particularly by establishing an exhaustive list of occupations that are to be equated with journalists and which includes as follows: anchorpersons, reporters, columnists, editors and members of editorial offices and editorial boards, operators of photo, video, and installation equipment. The bill has to reconcile the discrepancy between the law and the classification of professions and strengthen social protection of operators equating them to creative workers, and not technical profession only. This is particularly important because the operators most often become the victims of violence at work.

   The draft law no. 2122 “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine” introduces amendments to the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting, Law on the Press and procedural codes, which imposes restrictions on “the support of claims by the arrest of accounts or property owned by media, which operate according to the Law of Ukraine “On Television and Radio” and the Law of Ukraine “About Printed Media (Press) in Ukraine “, ban or a general obligation to perform certain actions in carrying out information activities”.

   The draft law no. 1257 “On Amendments to the Civil Code of Ukraine Intended to Remove the Term negative information” suggests deleting from the Article 277 of the Civil Code of Ukraine the provision stating that “the negative information disseminated about a person is considered to be unreliable if the person who spread it proves the opposite”. The authors emphasize that the recognition of the info as negative or positive depends on evaluation of the information by the person and not on the characteristics of the information itself. “By itself, the information is neutral and its “negativity” or “positivity” is a consequence of human perception,” stated the explanatory note. The adoption of the bill may alleviate the pressure on the media that publish critical materials on the activities of public authorities, local self-government and their officials.

  The Cabinet suggests dropping[7] provisions for determining the status and principles of the National Expert Commission on Public Ethics from the Law "On Protection of Public Morality". The relevant draft law prepared by the Ministry of Justice "On Amending the Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Public Morality” (concerning the state supervision) was registered under no. 2142. According to Justice Minister Olexandr Lavrynovych, the bill was developed in accordance with the Plan of Implementation of the Decree of the President of Ukraine of December 9, 2010 “On the Optimization of the System of Central Government Executive Bodies” concerning the disbanding of the National Commission on Public Ethics.

   Among the registered bills there are overtly reactionary ones. The draft law no. 3301 envisages the amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information”, which can narrow the opportunities for citizens to get information per request.

   The bill, in particular, implies that all information about an individual will be automatically regarded as confidential and may be spread either by the consent / request (as well as on the terms and conditions) of that person, or if such a possibility is expressly specified by law. Such a rule will complicate the already difficult access to important public information, particularly that relating to the activities of concrete officials.

   The experts of the Institute of Media Law believe[8] that the proposed amendments do not meet the basic democratic standards of freedom and maximum transparency of public information and may create additional barriers on the way to obtain it.

4. Violation of the right to freedom of expression

   In March 2013, the court confirmed the sentence[9] on Volodymyr Nikonenko in the case of graffiti in Sumy: one year of restrain of freedom under Part 2 of Article 296 of the Criminal Code (CC) of Ukraine (hooliganism). In his appeal Nikonenko argued that his actions were wrongly qualified by the court as hooliganism, as everything occurred during the night, in the absence of any persons, the alleged actions were not accompanied by shouts and foul language. All this negates the main characteristic of hooliganism: “gross violation of public order on the grounds of apparent disrespect for society accompanied by the most outrageous or extraordinary cynicism”. No natural or legal person claimed that against them a crime had been committed, there are no victims and there are no harmful effects in the case.

   In Kharkiv the philharmonic canceled[10] the scheduled concert in the framework of the festival “Art of Tolerance”. The major repairs were underway in the building of Philharmonic and the administration decided to take this concert to the Organ Hall located in the Dormition Cathedral, which is the property of the Kharkiv Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. When the eparchy heard that the Organ Hall would play jazz, it just banned the concert.

  The Shevchenko District militia station in Kyiv brought an action under art. 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine[11] against the soloist of the Kyiv Opera Kateryna Abdullina, who had called Ukrainian schools “the schools for cattle” in her Facebook.

   Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine under which the criminal charge was entered makes provision for liability for the “deliberate acts aimed at inciting national, racial or religious hostility, humiliation of national honor and dignity or offending the feelings of citizens because of their religious beliefs, as well as direct or indirect restriction of rights or granting direct or indirect privileges on grounds of race, color, political, religious or other beliefs, sex, ethnic or social origin, property status, place of residence, linguistic or other characteristics.” One must agree that it is doubtful whether Abdullina writing in the social networks about “the schools for cattle” wished (that is had a direct intent, which is specified by the article) to “incite or humiliate”. Despite the fact that we may like Ms. Abdullina or not, according to Art. 34 of the Constitution of Ukraine “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and speech, and freedom of expression”. This right can be restricted only by law. And there is no law forbidding writing opinions in social networks, even, to put it mildly, not very wise opinions. Similar rules are contained in Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 19 paragraph 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We can disagree with the likes of expression and, in our turn, we have the right to our [very critical] opinion of the author of those statements. But obviously the criminal prosecution for statements in social networks and public interference in the freedom of expression is disproportionate.

   The Artistic Arsenal is a national project; it was approved by the Decree of the President. At the invitation of the organizers of the exhibition “The Great and Majestic” at the Arsenal artist Volodymyr Kuznetsov proposed his work “Koliyivshchyna: The Last Judgment”. Exhibition curator Nataliya Zabolotna for several days was continuously present during the process of painting, but when the painting was finished, she personally covered the canvas with black paint, and the author was banned entry to Arsenal[12]. This work had acute social and political meaning. Later one more picture was banned at the exhibition.

   In protest against censorship in Artistic Arsenal a meeting was held, which was dispersed by militia; a process-verbal was executed about administrative violations concerning seven activists[13].

   In Mukachevo, all billboards with appeals to Yanukovych with the requirement to return the city community ₴24M blocked by the treasury were covered with paint[14].

   In Rivne Oblast, the billboards of oppositionist dedicated to the Day of Constitution were taken down[15]. Immediately after the appearance of billboards in different parts of Rivne Oblast the unknown persons started calling the owners and threatening them. “The demand was only one: remove your billboards. To some owners they said that in case of disagreement they would cut the billboards, to others they promised the night at the detention center,” reads the statement.

   In Donetsk, the administrative record of evidence[16] was composed under Article 173 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences (disorderly conduct) for the red and black flag on a football match. In Lutsk, the militia tried to take away red-black flags from the fans[17]. There is no law against coming to the stadium (and elsewhere) with the red and black flag. Therefore the violations were as follows: a) violation of the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 34, part one, of the Constitution of Ukraine, b) the militia committed violation forbidden under Article 19, part one of the Constitution of Ukraine, namely extralegal coercion (i.e., the person was unlawfully forced to do something that was not provided by law: not to show red and black flag which a man intended to do.)

In Kyiv, the militia apprehended[18] citizen A.Ilchenko for his individual action (holding placard) in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office. Thus the official reason of detention and drafting administrative protocols under article 185-1 CUAV was the judgment on the limitation of the right to peaceful assembly near the said building for an undetermined number of people. However, the absurdity of the situation is clear: any individual actions cannot be considered an assembly, but our appeal to the Main Administration of MIA of Ukraine in Kyiv about the need to officially explain militia officers the fundamental difference between peaceful assembly and individual action did not receive the proper response. The same negative response to our suggestions to publish the appropriate explanation we got from the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Human Rights, National Minorities and International Relations.

   All these cases are dangerous, because they create the practice of impunity, which can be followed by other officials.

   5. Violations of the rights of journalists and media

   The authorities often resort to censorship in the form of the ban imposed on journalists access to public events and camerawork. Such cases most often occur in the province. However, in 2013 there were cases of direct censorship by the government.

   In Mykolayiv, on the eve of the visit of the Deputy Minister the press office of the Ministry of Income and Dues wrote for journalists the right questions to ask and did not allow asking other questions[19].

   The Sessions of Kharkiv Oblast Rada are broadcast by the Oblast State TV and Radio Company OTB. On January 17 from 12:20 to 12:30 Igor Shvaika, people’s deputy of Ukraine, addressed the session with keen criticism. It was a sharply critical speech which contained a request to abandon shale gas extraction on the oblast territory with detailed substantiation. Precisely at this very period of time instead of broadcasting from the session hall the audience saw advertising[20].

   There were a lot of facts of arbitrary interference of militia officers with the work of journalists.

   During the concert at the Yevropeyska Square in Kyiv a militia major unreasonably began demanding that the newsman[21] of the Novyi Region publication to get off the fence thus interfering with his work.

   In Odesa, the personnel of Prymorsky Recruiting Office tried to detain the reporter of the portal Odesa. Comments Andriy Kolisnychenko[22] for his filming the protests on Pyrogovska Street.

   In the urban-type community Vradiyivka, Mykolayiv Oblast, during the riots, the militia arrested five journalists[23] intending to get a comment from the former Chief of Vradiyivka Regional Department of the Militia Vitaly Synytskyi.

   In Mykolayiv, a militiaman assaulted[24] Natalia Barbarosh, journalist for the online edition Podrobnosti.mk.ua, took away her camera and broke her phone. The militia detained the journalist for more than two hours without means of communication and without explaining what it was.

   In Mykolayiv, the officers of the Mykolayiv Department of Organized Crime Control assaulted[25] the employees of online edition of News-N Andriy Prokopenko and Anatoly Onofriychuk when they tried to figure out why the militia blocked the building of trade-office center "Tekhnokontrakt."

   At the same time it's worth noting militia’s systemic non-interference in violence against journalists, including the most resonant events on May 18 on the Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv, when journalists were beaten in sight of the militia[26].

There many reports about the actions of the authorities against journalists. The representatives of the media unions are raising an alarm[27] and say that the number of such cases has increased dramatically.

   Deputy of the Luhansk Oblast Rada from the Party of Regions Arsen Klynchayev threatened[28] the Editor-in-Chief of the Site 0642.ua Yana Osadcha to deal shortly with her child and “imprecation” if she did not remove an uncomfortable article from the site.

   Kotovsk City Rada Deputy, Odesa Oblast, Natalia Voitsekhovska threatened[29] journalist and writer Serhiy Levytanenko with reprisals.

   Local Deputy of Fontanka Village Rada, Odesa Oblast, Bahrad Ehyzarian, member of the Party of Regions, filed to the militia an application[30] against the journalist for his report on the rural site (the militia found no corpus delicti).

   During the live coverage of the meeting[31] against building in Kherson of a new shopping and entertainment complex and the location in a green area of a gas station director of the Information Agency “Tavriyia News” Kyrylo Striemousov was attacked. When the reporter began asking the authorities “uncomfortable” questions, Head of Housing and Communal Services Department of the Executive Committee of Kherson City Rada Olexiy Rybakov took away the journalist’s ID card and tried to tear it.

   Chernivtsi journalist Halyna Yeremitsa appealed to the militia[32] about the pressure and threats of physical violence expressed by local official Serhiy Shekhter because of her publication in a newspaper.

   The editor of the private newspaper “Persha Miska”, Starokostiantyniv (Khmelnitska Oblast), Iryna Rozhok-Kapranova made a statement[33] that Mayor Mykola Melnychuk encourages the founder of the newspaper to exert an impact on the editorial policy of independent newspaper.

   In Uzhhorod, on the City Day, in Uzhhorod City Rada, the bodyguards of the Mayor and athletic young men beat the newsmen[34] and students (girls) and threatened to murder them. The militia under command of the deputy chief of public security militia of the Uzhhorod City Department of the MIA of Ukraine militia Lieutenant Colonel V. Hryhoryev instead of journalists and ordinary citizens protected bagmen of specific appearance dressed in sports suits.

   The process of destruction of local broadcasters by bodies of power continues.

   In the City of Kerch, the city authorities seek to totally destroy the independent TV&Radio Company “Bryz” and the site “Kerch.FM”[35].

   In Chernivtsi, the authorities closed down the channel TVA[36].

   In Kremenchuk the local authorities are trying to communalize the independent television channel “Vizyt”, the mayor speaks rudely to the journalists[37] and the authorities oust journalists from their press conferences[38].

   It is worth noting the cases of reprisals against journalists who are fighting for their rights.

   The editors of UNIAN[39] Olexandr Volynsky, Liubov Zhalovaha, Valentyna Romanenko, Roman Romaniuk and Head of the Department of Economics Tetiana Maydanovych were introduced to the order about transferring them to the newly created department of TV monitoring. Previously, these journalists publicly opposed the violation of professional standards in UNIAN. Journalists were locked in a room and held there for several hours, making them to affix their signatures that they are familiar with the order about their transfer to another department, which is located on the plant premises. The premises (corridors, toilets and other public places) are partially illuminated. In particular, the corridors, the way to the rest rooms and staircases are not illuminated. The suspended ceilings in the hallway directly outside the door of the rented office are partly dismantled, including hanging uninsulated wiring and other parts of communication equipment. The editors of the site UNIAN regarded this decision as persecution for opposing censorship and criticism of the administration of the agency. The unions (they are members of the IMTUU), including international ones, supported the journalists. For a long time the authorities refused to respond to the apparent violations, then under the pressure of journalists the actions were initiated. The State Inspectorate of Labor has found violations in the Private Company “UNIAN”[40]. The case of illegal actions against the employees of UNIAN is in court now.

   In Kharkiv Oblast, in Sakhnovshchynska newspaper “Kolos”[41] the village and regional radas changed the founders and removed the personnel, which had co-owned the newspaper since 1995, and appointed acting Editor-in-Chief Halyna Parkhomenko an office holder at first and then fired her. According to journalists the aggravation of the conflict was caused by their attempts to conclude an agreement in accordance with the Law “On the procedure for coverage of the activities of the state authorities and local self-government in Ukraine by the media.”

   6. The court practice

   The European Court of Human Rights announced on October 10, 2013 its judgment in the case Delfi AS vs. Estonia, no. 64569 / 09[42]. In it the Strasbourg Court acknowledged that calling the organization-applicant to civil and legal account for abusive comments left by its readers on its news portal cannot be considered a violation of freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention.

   This decision will probably be used in judicial practice in Ukraine in cases like actions Olexandr Syvolapenko and Yevrotranshrup Ltd. against Yustinian Publishers and Private Company Ukrayinska Pravda, which on February 14, 2013 was considered by the Kyiv Court of Appeals. In its decision the Court of Appeals ordered the owners of the sites Yustinian and Ukrayinska Pravda to publish a disclaimer of the information posted in the zone of free access, namely in commentaries[43].

On May 21, Dniprovsky District Court in Kyiv ruled in favor of St Sophia Homes Co. According to the court decision[44], the owner of the forum, which brings together residents of one of the capital's high risers, must pay the St Sophia Homes Co. ₴14M.

   During the year a significant number of court decisions were made that did not satisfy claims for substantial amounts of compensation for spreading false information by the media. In general, in the cases “authorities vs. journalists” 11 times the decisions were in favor of journalists and 5 times in favor of authorities. Six cases are still under consideration.

   There were times when the authorized persons who filed lawsuits against journalists withdrew their civil complaints (usually after protests and high-profile campaigns in the media).

   So, there was a significant case when the Lutsk City-Region Court on June 21, 2013 dismissed a complaint[45] of three Volyn militia employees to the tune of ₴100 000 against the newspaper with the highest circulation in the region “Volyn-nova”, its journalist and lawyer.

   Kyiv Shevchenkyvskyi Court Judge Dmytro Maltsev dismissed the action brought by People's Deputy Vitaly Zhuravskyi against Zhytomyr and national media[46]. Zhuravskyi sought to refute the information that he was the biggest violator of election laws in Zhytomyr.

   On March 22, 2013, the Leninsky District Court of Sevastopol terminated the proceeding[47] in the case against Sevastopol Novyi Region News Agency correspondent Yanina Vaskovska, from which the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Pavlo Lebedev wanted to exact $10,000 accusing her of involvement in the agency’s publication that had damaged his reputation and caused mental suffering.

   Volodymyr Martynenko, Chief of Dniprovsky District Militia Department of Kherson, called off his suit[48] against the editor of online edition Khersonska Pravda Taras Buzak intended to exact ₴100,000 of moral losses caused by the publication of the news “Yesterday there was shooting on the corner of Perekopska and Chornomorska streets”, which was published online on November 19, 2012.

   On February 21, 2013 the Siverskodonetsky City Court, Luhansk Oblast, decided to terminate[49] proceeding against journalist and social activist Olexiy Svetikov because the claimant had abandoned the claim.

   The court dismissed the complaint of the Secretary of Trostianets City Rada Alina Shatska against the newspaper Novyny Trostianecchchyny: Tyzhden[50]. The official demanded the refutation not of facts, but of “incorrect assessment of the facts and use of information that is untrue and that offends her honor, dignity and reputation among the local community.”

   There were instances when the government representatives won lawsuits against the media and journalists.

   On June 20 the Central District Court of Simferopol partially satisfied the claim[51] of the First Vice-Premier of the Crimea Pavlo Burlakov against the online edition of the Argumenty Nedeli -- Krym and journalist, member of the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine Hanna Andriyevska. According to the court, the defendant in the case the Public Enterprise Argumenty Nedeli -- Krym should remove from the site of the online edition the article “The Hostel as a shelter for the Crimean VIPs. History of Pavlo Burlakov” and also destroy existing working papers of the journalist containing confidential information about the First Vice-Premier. The court also ordered the Public Enterprise Argumenty Nedeli -- Krym to pay the official ₴3000 in compensation for moral damages and to pay court costs in the amount of ₴573.50.

   It is worth noting the legal proceedings Zaporizhzhia Water Utility vs. Vasylenko in the definitive judgment of which there is a formulation a s follows[52]: "To forbid the Mediakompaniya “Slovo” LLC … Vasylenko Iryna Andriyivna (Chief Editor of “Subota Plus”--Ed.) … Vasylenko Bohdan Yuriyovych (E-in-C, author of the publication--Ed.) to distribute in any way possible (including in conversations with anybody) false (according to court--Ed.) information.”

   Until now the courts refuse[53] to re-qualify the cases about the attacks against journalists from Art. 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (hooliganism) to Art. 171 (obstruction of journalistic activity).

   7. Practical application of Article 171

   According to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine[54], during the first six months of 2013, 117 criminal prosecutions were initiated for obstruction of journalists, 69 of which cases were closed, and only 3 were passed to the court. For the most part the proceedings were instituted in Kyiv (13) and Donetsk (10). There were no such proceedings in Sumy, Ternopil, Chernivtsi, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr oblasts.

   In 2013, due to protests, the Ukrainian journalists set a precedent for the punishment of attackers under Article 171 of the Criminal Code[55]. This is a fit punishment for assailants who beat journalists Olga Snitsarchuk and Vlad Sodel in the center of Kyiv on May 18.

However, the chairman of the Independent Media Trade Union Yuri Lucanov maintains[56] that “it is the exception that proves the rule”.

   Only after those exceptional circumstances of the case under Article 171 the accusation was laid against the person who attacked the Kherson journalists Olexandr Tarasov and Valeriy Myroniuk[57]. Before that, at the request of journalists, the militia opened criminal proceedings and then closed them three times referring to the lack of evidence. Meanwhile, the incidents were recorded on video, which clearly show that the journalists were beaten and the law enforcers obstructed their work.

   In April 2013, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine circulated among its  the written rules of behavior[58] “Interaction of militiamen with media”, which is an example of application of Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, specifically: “The theoretical and practical commentary treats obstruction as unlawful creation of any obstacles, restrictions and prohibitions on the receipt, use, distribution, and storage of information by an individual journalist (journalists) or media”. However, the cases under Article 171 are still mostly initiated in order to temporarily reduce tension around the well-publicized case, and then they are either quietly hushed, or investigation continues for years.

   8. Recommendations:

1. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine should adopt the laws as follows:

- no. 0944 on Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Advertising”,

- no. 0947 “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine in Connection with the Adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Information” (in the new redaction) and the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information”,

- no. 1076 "On Public TV and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine."

- no. 2600 “On reforming the printed media”,

- no. 2142 “On Amending the Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Public Morality” (on state supervision)”

- no. 2829 on Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting”,

- when adopting the Law of Ukraine “On freedom of assembly” (no. 2508a) it is necessary to include in the text that it does not apply to individual actions associated with the implementation of their right to freedom of expression.

2. The General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine should stop the continued practice of re-qualification into hooliganism or closing cases initiated under Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

3. The General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine should tighten control over the observance of the right to freedom of expression and journalists' rights, thoroughly investigate every case of intervention of officials into the work of the media and advertising companies.

4. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine should explain (publishing the appropriate explanation on the official website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and in the printed media) the militia officers that any individual actions cannot be considered cannot be considered “peaceful assemblies” and, thus hindering such actions, calling to administrative account under art. 185-1 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Violations is unreasonable and unacceptable. 

 

[1] Prepared by Natalia Zubar, Director of the Information Centre “Square Monitor”.

[2] Monitoring Map “Maidan Monitoring” http://maidanua.org/monitor

[3] Freedom of Speech Barometer for October 2013 http://imi.org.ua/barametr/42042-barometr-svobodi-slova-za-jovten-2013-roku.html

[4] “Stop Censorship” encourages owners of Forbes Media to intervene in Ukraine.

[5] The Kerch journalists forced the city council to cancel the illegal decision http://nmpu.org.ua/2013/11/kerchenski-zhurnalisty-zmusyly-misku-radu-skasuvaty-nezakonne-rishennya/

[6] Yanukovych signed the Law on transparency of media ownership http://www.telekritika.ua/pravo/2013-07-25/83596

[7] The Cabinet brought up again the issue of disbanding the Commission on morals and submitted the relevant bill. http://www.telekritika.ua/news/2013-01-31/78663

[8] The people's deputies want to limit access to public information http://medialaw.Kyiv.ua/news/2332/

[9] Sentence for Graffiti http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1364800589

[10] Yevhen Zakharov: the cancellation of the concert "The Art of Tolerance" is nothing but obscurantism! http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1379674832

[11] An action was brought against Abdullina for “the schools for cattle” http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/464

[12] "The Last Judgment" censored in the Artistic Arsenal http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/420

[13] At least seven protesters in front of the Artistic Arsenal were detained by the police http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1374858326

[14] In Mukachevo, all billboards with appeals to Yanukovych were covered with paint http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/400

[15] In Rivne Oblast, the billboards of oppositionist dedicated to the Day of Constitution were taken down http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/397

[16] A Kharkovite with red and black flag arrested at the stadium in Donetsk  http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/493

[17] Police took away red and black flags from the fans during the match http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/471

[18] In Kyiv, near the Prosecutor General's Ofiice a Mykolayiv picketer wasdetained who protested against tyranny of law enforcers http://novosti-n.mk.ua/news/read/55341.html

[19] Censorship in Mykolayiv: on the eve of the visit of the Deputy Minister the press office of the Ministry of Income and Dues wrote for journalists the right questions http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/395

[20] The Kharkiv Oblast television censored the keen speech at the oblast rada session http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/345

[21] The Editorial Office of the News Agency Poriad z Vamy is concerned about the actions of militia officers who go beyond their powers http://www.poryad.com/?p=21834

[22] In Odesa, the recruiting officers attacked a journalist while he was filming the protests http://imi.org.ua/news/41864-v-odesi-spivrobitniki-viyskkomatu-napali-na-jurnalista-za-zyomku-aktsiji-protestu.html

[23] In Vradiyivka five journalists were detained http://imi.org.ua/news/41201-u-vradijivtsi-zatrimali-pyatoh-jurnalistiv.html

[24] In Mykolayiv, a militiaman twisted the journalist's hand and broke her phone http://imi.org.ua/news/41257-u-mikolaevi-militsioner-vikruchuvav-jurnalisttsi-ruku-i-rozbiv-telefon.html

[25] In Mykolayiv two more journalists were injured by the police http://imi.org.ua/news/41259-u-mikolaevi-sche-dvoe-jurnalistiv-postrajdali-vid-diy-militsiji.html

[26] The youngsters have beaten to blood the journalist and photographer. Militia did not intervene http://imi2.serhio.org/news/40794-molodiki-pobili-do-krovi-jurnalistku-ta-fotografa-militsiya-ne-vtruchalasya.html

[27] Head of Media Union said in Brussels that Ukrainian journalists are treated in Ukraine as slaves http://maidanua.org/2013/09/holova-media-profspilky-v-bryusseli-zayavyv-scho-do-ukrajinskyh-zhurnalistiv-stavlyatsya-v-ukrajini-yak-do-rabiv/

[28] The deputy of the Luhansk Oblast Rada threatened the Editor-in-Chief http://lb.ua/news/2013/09/27/229646_regional_ugrozhaet_zhurnalistke.html

[29] The City Rada Deputy, Odesa Oblast, threatened the journalist http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/427

[30] It is categorically prohibited to write about deputies, even if they behave like hooligans http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/411

[31] In Kherson a functionary assaulted the journalist http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/379

[32] In Chernivtsi an official threatens the journalist who wrote an article that he kept a Red Book lynx at home http://imi.org.ua/news/41912-chinovnik-pogrojue-chernivetskiy-jurnalisttsi-cherez-stattyu-pro-te-scho-vin-vdoma-trimae-chervonoknijnu-ris.html

[33] The editor of the Starokostiantynivska newspaper said about the pressure from the Mayor http://imi.org.ua/news/42029-redaktor-starokostyantinovskoji-gazeti-zayavila-pro-tisk-z-boku-mera-mista.html

[34] In Uzhhorod City Rada, the bodyguards of the Mayor beat the newsmen. The militia defended the bagmen http://imi.org.ua/news/41768-v-ujgorodskiy-miskradi-ohorona-mera-ta-molodiki-pobili-jurnalistiv-militsiya-zahischala-bratkiv.html

[35] NMTUU claims that the Kerch authorities seek to totally destroy the Kerch TRC "Bryz" http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/436

[36] Channel TVA has been out of the ether for a week now. The journalists are protesting, the Oblast State Administration "washes its hands". http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/425

[37] In Kremenchuk, the owner of the broadcaster "Vizyt" makes a statement about the raiding attempt http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/377

[38] People's Deputy from the Party of Regions expelled from his press conference a journalist of the Kremenchuk newspaper "Prohrama Plus" http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/361

[39] In the UNIAN the editors who previously informed about censorship "were transferred" to another department http://imi.org.ua/news/41523-v-unian-redaktoriv-yaki-ranishe-zayavlyali-pro-tsenzuru-peremistili-v-inshiy-viddil.html

[40] The State Inspectorate of Labor has found violations in the Private Company "UNIAN" http://nmpu.org.ua/2013/11/derzhinspektsiya-z-pytan-pratsi-vyyavyla-porushennya-u-tov-unian/

[41] Kharkiv journalists about the increase of pressure on the media http://imi.org.ua/news/40913-harkivski-jurnalisti-zayavlyayut-pro-zbilshennya-tisku-na-predstavnikiv-zmi.html

[42] ECtHR decided that the site owner can be held responsible for readers' comments http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1381445527

[43] Ukrayinska Pravda was obliged to publish a disclaimer of info in comments on the site http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1361382636

[44] The Court wants to recover from the owner of the Kyiv online forum ₴14M  http://watcher.com.ua/2013/05/23/sud-hoche-styahnuty-z-vlasnyka-kyyivskoho-internet-forumu-14-mln-hrn/

[45] Volyn militiamen lost the defamatory process to the newspaper and lawyer http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1371992949

[46] "Pershy Zhytomyrsky" won the case against People's Deputy Zhuravskyi: the deputy's claim was dismissed http://www.1.zt.ua/themes/rizne/pershiy-zhitomirskiy-vigrav-sud-u-nardepa-zhuravskogo-pozov-deputata-zalishili-bez-zadovolennya.html

[47] The Defense Minister changed his mind to sue the Crimean journalist. The court dismissed the case http://olden.imi.org.ua/news/ministr-oboroni-peredumav-suditisya-z-krimskoyu-zhurnalistkoyu-sud-zakriv-spravu

[48] The Kherson militiaman, who claimed in court ₴ 100,000 from a journalist, withdrew his claim http://olden.imi.org.ua/news/khersonskii-militsioner-shcho-vimagav-u-sudi-vid-zhurnalista-100-tis-grn-vidklikav-svii-pozov

[49] He asked for a million but changed his mind http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1361745269

[50] The court dismissed the complaint of the Secretary of the City Rada demanding to refute the value judgments http://irrp.org.ua/news/rpdi/2946-sud-vdmoviv-sekretaryu-mskradi-u-zadovolenn-pozovu-pro-sprostuvannya-ocnochnih-sudzhen.html

[51] The Vice-Premier of the Crimea won the lawsuit against the journalist; her colleagues are preparing an action http://www.telekritika.ua/pravo/2013-06-20/82659

[52] Factory of absurd: the court forbade the journalist to talk about "Vodokanal" http://ua.comments.ua/politics/204517-fabrika-absurdu-sud-zaboroniv.html

[53] Closing the case about beating of the photojournalist Vitaliy  Lazebnyk is a shame for the militia - NMTUU http://www.telekritika.ua/pravo/2013-10-14/86698

[54] The journalists' rights are violated, but two-thirds of cases are being closed http://www.poryad.com/?p=21303

[55] The trial of Titushko. Last episode: Verdict http://video.telekritika.ua/show/podii/1631-sud_nad_titushkom_epizod_ostanniij_virok_02.09.2013

[56] Head of the NMTUU told in Brussels about the slave working conditions of journalists in Ukraine http://nmpu.org.ua/2013/09/lukanov-do-zhurnalistiv-v-ukrajini-stavlyatsya-yak-do-rabiv/

[57] The case of the attack on journalists in Kherson was sent to court http://nmpu.org.ua/2013/09/spravu-pro-napad-na-zhurnalistiv-u-hersoni-peredano-do-sudu/

[58] The editorial office of the News Agency Poriad z Vamy is concerned about the actions of militiamen who go beyond their powers http://www.poryad.com/?p=21834