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Hromadske argued against misinformation bill

28.01.2020, 18:28
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Hromadske TV NGO argued against the misinformation bill (“On Amendments to Some Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Ensuring National Information Security and the Right to Access Reliable Information”). This is said in a statement released by the organization on its website.

“The mechanisms laid down in the bill are an attempt to impose state control over circulation of information, which should be free in a democracy. The bill, in fact, proposes censorship. In our opinion, it will hit small, independent media, especially in the regions. Those who are planning or could launch new media projects. And in no way will it affect the work of the big media holdings, which are mostly owned by oligarchs, serving of mass media as tool to influence politicians and society, ” the statement said.

The organization also notes that the bill does solve neither the problem of opaque media ownership, nor the problem of misinformation.

“We are convinced that the issue of adherence to professional standards is the sole competence of journalistic self-regulation, not the state. All that is required from the state is not to impede work of journalists and to protect them from attacks and pressure, ” Hromadske TV said.

The organization is convinced that dishonest media should be politically responsible, as people simply stop reading / watching / listening it because of misinformation they come out with. “Fines and criminal liability won’t solve it. Trust of the audience should be the main criterion for mass media. The audience must be able to think critically and make decisions independently, ” the statement reads.

Journalists with Hromadske believe that the bill cannot be polished up, and thus, they urged the drafters to withdraw it and define what kind of problem should be solved by the law. Instead, it encourages colleagues to launch a broad discussion on adherence to journalistic standards and the forming of a self-regulatory body which would have credibility.

As IMI reported, on January 27, representatives of the media community and public organizations recommended that the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports refrain from submitting the bill on misinformation for consideration in the parliament.

On January 27, the Commission of Journalistic Ethics (CJE) issued a statement calling on the government and the Ministry of Culture to revoke the so-called misinformation bill and to resume drafting legislative changes from the scratch.

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