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Civil society calls MPs not to vote bill on criminal liability for untruthful information

The human rights and media non-government organizations call MPs to revoke the bill N#10139 on criminal liability for intentional or casual diffusing of untruthful information through mass media or online, according to the open letter signed by NGOs.

“The legislative initiatives of this kind could serve as a dangerous instrument aiming to impose censorship or pressure onto independent mass media. Even the threat to be brought to criminal liability creates a chilling effect as to intention to diffuse any information of public importance, as since the very beginning, any journalistic investigation on a malversation or corruption is to imply a risk to get a claim on criminal delict in reply”, the open letter said.

Moreover, the bill supposed blockage of news resource, especially at election time, and this is contrary to the citizens’ right to get and to diffuse information of public importance and is to serve as n instrument of censorship of political debates”, the letter said.

Taking into account such a menace towards the expression of opinions online and in mass media, which is the bill #10139, the human right and media institutions urged :

-the MP Ihor Lapin, author of this bill, to revoke this bill;

-the parliament not to vote the inclusion into the agenda the bill #10139.

The NGOs signatories of the open letter are:

“Coalition “For free Net”, NGO “Platform of Human rights”, NGO “Laboratory of digital security”, NGO “Center for human rights “Change” (ZMINA), NGO “Crimean human rights group”, NGO “Center of civil freedoms”, Freedom House in Ukraine, Mykola Kostynyan, and the NGO “Institute for development of regional press”, NGO “Institute of Mass Information”, NGO “Hromadske television”, NGO “Detektor Media”, NGO “Donetsk institute of information”, NGO “Center for democracy and rule of law”, NGO “Ukraine Institute of media and communications”, NGO “Resource center GURT”.

IMI informed today, the Verkhovna Rada has enregistred the bill N#10139 on criminal liability for intentional or casual spread of untruthful information in mass media or online. The delict is supposed to be fined in amount up to 54 thousands of hryvnias ($2 000) or correctional labour or public service, as to Detektor Media.

On March 12th, the draft of law “On amendment to some regulatory acts of Ukraine on prevention of diffusing of untruthful information through mass media” was registered by the MP from “Popular front” Ihor Lapin.

This new bill is to bring into force criminal liability for having diffused some untruthful information in mass media or online, notwithstanding if it has been done consciously or without any intention.

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