MIP, Council of Europe Hold Round Table on Freedom of Speech in Ukraine
On 3 May 2018, a round table ‘Freedom of Speech in Ukraine: Current State and Challenges’ was held at the press centre of the news agency Ukrinform. The round table was organized by the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine, the Information Society Department of the Directorate-General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe, and the NGO Institute of Mass Information.
The event took place on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, which is marked on May 3rd annually and designed to remind society of the fact that journalists play an important part in affirming freedom of speech and the right to information.
“The key aim of the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine is to ensure conditions for free journalism in Ukraine. Even amid information warfare we abide by the principles of freedom of speech. Some reproach us for the aggressor winning on the information front. But this is the illusion of victory. In the long run, complete absence of freedom of press and access to information – which is in fact normal in Russia – eventually results in a done-for society, incapable of critical thinking,” the First Deputy Minister of Information Policy of Ukraine, Emine Dzhaparova, noted in her speech.
Artem Bidenko, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Information Policy, stressed the important role of the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists. “This is a mechanism allowing documenting violations, categorise and react to them in a timely manner on the national manner. MIP is the body of state power responsible for this process. And I am pleased to announce that Ukraine is in the top five states which react to such messages as promptly and effectively as possible,” he stressed.
According to the Head of the Sector for Information Reintegration of Crimea and Donbas of MIP, Viktor Lytvinov, violent suppression of freedom of speech are now usual in Russia-occupied territories. “In Crimea, the aggressor has seized more than 500 frequency acquisitions from Ukraine, which are now being used for broadcasting by pro-Russian propagandistic mass media. There is no free press as such, both there and in occupied territories of Donbas,” he argued.
Mr Lytvinov also added that Ukraine was taking action to ensure that Ukrainian citizens in occuoied territories have access to Ukrainian mass media.
The event was attended by Olena Lytvynenko, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe’s Office in Ukraine; Johann Bihr, Head of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Desk of RSF (Reporters without Borders); Oleksandr Opanasenko, Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy; Yurii Pavlenko, Ukraine’s MP; Oksana Romaniuk, Executive Director at the NGO Institute of Mass Information; Marianna Betsa, speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine; Artem Shevchenko, Director of the Communications Department of the Ministry of Interior Affairs; and others. The event was moderated by journalist and media expert Andrii Kulykov.
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