The National Radio and TV Council of Ukraine Bans Broadcast of Russian TV Channel Dozhd

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 13 Jan 2017 Country Ukraine Category Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
13 Jan 2017 Ukraine Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 2

On 12 January 2017, the National Radio and TV Council (NRTC) of Ukraine voted unanimously to cease the retransmission of the Russian TV Channel Dozhd (Rain) within a month, following TV reports showing Crimea as part of Russia. NRTC member Serhiy Kostynsky said that Dozhd's depictions of Crimea as a Russian republic had spurred the decision, but that the station had also repeatedly violated Ukrainian advertising laws throughout 2016. Dozhd Director Natalya Sindeyeva explained that Russian law requires the use of maps that indicate Russia’s possession of Crimea. She also claims that the channel had not received any official notice of non-compliance from the Ukrainian authorities. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović qualified on Twitter the ban as “very damaging for media pluralism in Ukraine”.

State replies

17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

13 Jan 2017 : OSCE Freedom of the Media Reprensentative describes decision of NacRada to stop broadcasting of DozhdTV as very demaging for media pluralism in Ukraine.

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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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