Human Rights Activists: Creation of the Ministry of Information Policy Officially Introduced Censorship

On December 2, 2014 a new threat of creation of the Ministry of Information Policy was added to the traditional threats to human rights, which the Ukrainian community continues to face in these difficult times of challenges associated with the hostilities in the Eastern Ukraine and occupation of Crimea by Russia. Formally declared motive of its creation is to protect the Ukrainian information space of Russian propaganda and to fight an information war in the other states, but in reality, this ministry has to become an institutionalized body of state control over the freedom of speech, an official censor, which aims to set standards of media and to monitor compliance with these standards.

The existence of such a ministry is incompatible with the principles of human rights and the rule of law as the fundamental principles of the functioning and development of a democratic Ukrainian state, set in the Constitution of Ukraine and international instruments ratified by Ukraine. At the same time the existence of such a ministry is contrary to the principles of conceptual bases and concrete plans that are contained in the draft National Strategy on Human Rights – the Plan on enhancing and strengthening the human rights in the country in the coming years.

There is no doubt that creation and existence of the Ministry of Information Policy would violate the Constitution of Ukraine, introducing censorship, which is prohibited, in particular, by the Article 15, and violate the rights enshrined in the Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Democracies often become the victims of propaganda attacks. But the democratic state has to resist such information attacks without losing its democratic nature and using regulatory mechanisms to prevent the spread of false information, which are inherent in a democratic society.

A shameful decision to create the Ministry of Information Policy and to appoint the Minister of Information Policy, which was adopted in a secretive manner without any public discussion and appropriate expertise, should be abolished, and one of the fundamental freedoms – freedom of speech, the right of everyone to freely impart information and ideas without government intervention – should be strengthened, and not put under real threat of violation.

Mykola Kozyrev, Chairman

Arkady Bushchenko, Executive Director


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