Round table discussion on “Threats to freedom of speech through the introduction of changes in legislation”

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On January 30, at 01:00 pm., Ukrainian Crisis Media Center held a discussion on the draft laws submitted to the Verkhovna Rada by representatives of the current Ukrainian government: “On amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine on ensuring national information security and the right to access reliable information” and “On media”.

As a result of the discussion, an editorial group has been set up to prepare an open letter to the developers of the draft laws, Verkhovna Rada and the President of Ukraine.

Yuriy Mindyuk, organizer of the event and president of the “Foundation for Assistance of Democratic Initiatives”, made an opening speech.

Roman Holovenko, Vladyslav Vasyl and Yuriy Mindyuk

Participants of the discussion:

  • Halyna Petrenko, director of the “Detector media” NGO. 
  • Roman Holovenko, head of the legal department of the Institute of Mass Information. 
  • Dmytro Zolotukhin, Institute of post-information society, former Deputy Minister of Information Policy.
  • Maxym Tulyev, chairman of the Committee of the Internet Association of Ukraine for the protection of human rights and freedom of speech.
  • Nadiya Sukha, investigative journalist, Centre of United Actions. 
  • Lyudmyla Fomenko, lawyer, ICTV channel. 
  • Petro Okhotin, policy expert. 
  • Nestor Volya, blogger. 
  • Yuriy Honcharenko, public activist, vice-president of the Democratic Initiatives Assistance Foundation.

The event was moderated by Vladyslav Vasyl, media expert, “Democratic Initiatives Assistance Foundation”.

TOPICS of discussion:

  1. Unconstitutional and discriminatory provisions of the “Borodyansky/Tkachenko” draft laws. Is it worth introducing strict regulation of the work of Ukrainian media today?
  2. What are the immediate threats of implementation of the proposed draft laws for the media, journalists, public activists, bloggers and citizens, and users of social media? Do the possible positive aspects of their adoption outweigh the possible risks
  3. How to prevent the spread of disinformation without violating citizens’ rights. Is it possible at all to legally restrict the dissemination of false information? Technical aspects of implementing such restrictions.
  4. Establishment of the Association of Professional Journalists, state classification of media, confidence index, unified press card – pros and cons of these innovations. 
  5. Drafting of a letter to the initiators of draft laws and parliamentary political forces.

The participants came to the conclusion that it is very important that such changes to the legislation are not adopted without detailed discussion in a professional environment.

Of course, the fight against distorted information is one of the components of national security. Therefore, the development of national legislation in this area is long overdue. On the other hand, freedom of speech and the possibility of criticizing the actions of the authorities should not be abridged under the guise of fighting fakes.

Reasonable comments were made on the draft laws under discussion and an editorial group was created to draft a joint document, which will be sent to both the developers of the document and those who should vote for it. 

Video broadcast:

Following on from the results, a separate media briefing will be held. 

Secretary of the editorial team – Yuriy Honcharenko, vice-president of the Foundation for Assistance of Democratic Initiatives.

Contacts of the organizers: fpdi.ukraine@gmail.com

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