27 Jan 2020 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 27 Jan 2020 n° 10/2020 Ukraine

Ukraine’s Draft Law on Combating Disinformation and Regulating Media Activity Threatens Freedom of Speech

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
On 20 January 20, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has unveiled a draft law on combating disinformation and regulating media activity. According to the Ministry of Culture, the text aims to respond to Russian disinformation. However, the journalistic community believes that this initiative is likely to be used as a tool for harassing Ukrainian journalists. The Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) warned that the law would legalise state interference in the journalistic profession and restrict media workers’ right.
The document outlines new rules on media regulation and journalistic activity. It foresees criminal charges for spreading disinformation with huge fines (up to 350,000 euros) and 7 years in prison.
The NUJU strongly rejected the bill as it currently stands. “If this law passes, journalists will be required to hold a professional press card from a state-sponsored organisation; media content will be monitored by a Special Commissioner who will implement a policy of fines, blocking and sanction; a Trust Index based on criteria developed by the Special Commissioner will be introduced; the status of a professional journalist will be granted and denied in accordance with the Code of Journalistic Ethics; and the media will be required to publish official identification information,” according to the President of the Union Sergiy Tomilenko.
Follow-ups
27 Jan 2020
OSCE Media Freedom Representative concerned by several provisions of Ukraine’s new draft law on disinformation.
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