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Regulation of online media, bloggers and social networks, as to Ministry of culture and MP Tkachenko

21.11.2019, 17:29

The Ministry of Culture and the Parliamentary Committee on Information Policy presented  the draft law on media, as Liga.net reported.

The discussion took place on November 20 during the close-door meeting with online media officials. Obozrevatel, Liga.net, RBC, Vox Ukraine, Pravda, LB.ua, the 24th channel and several agencies were invited to the meeting.

“I asked you not to be indifferent to this issue. Anyhow, we are going to regulate it. But how we regulate it, very much depends on you, ” Oleksander Tkachenko MP and head of the Committee on Information Policy said.

The draft law, which is scheduled to be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada by the end of the year, they spelt out the registration procedure in order of tax imposition for online media and social networks (Google, YouTube, Facebook). However, as to Tkachenko, both are under question.

At the same time, the parliamentary Tax Committee is working on amendments to the Tax Code on taxation of so-called public service providers that make profits in Ukraine, such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and others.

Tkachenko also noted that the principle of registration of online media existed in some European countries, but on a voluntary basis.

In addition, an issue of equating bloggers with the media is to be debated, and if so, beginning from what number of subscribers, and not only the issue of taxation, but also the issue of content will arise.

The bill also provides fines and blocking of online resources by court order.

The bill proposes the introduction of a new principle - the so-called fair play. The income should not be inferior to the amount of financial support of the media owner. Tkachenko specified that he would like this requirement concerned all the mass media. He noted that if anyone comes up with a better way to guarantee the editorial independence from the media owners, then the committee is open to consider the proposal.

The First Deputy Minister of Culture Anatoliy Maksymchuk said that the ministry was working out a project of content monitoring the mass media publish, including online media.

In particular, they are going to set up a position of media ombudsman for information. That person is to monitor the media in terms of misinformation. It will also respond in case of complaints of misinformation and seize the court. The purpose is to protect the interests of society.

Single misinformation incident and lack of masthead data in the mass media will imply an administrative liability and deliberate, systematic dissemination of misinformation will entail criminal liability.

According to him, there will be no punishment for evaluation judgment, criticism, as this is not  misinformation.

As IMI reported, on November 6, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine Volodymyr Borodyansky said that they were going to increase the responsibility of journalists for dissemination of false or manipulative information. They are going to introduce the concept of "manipulation of public opinion".

Earlier, Volodymyr Borodyansky proposed to impose criminal responsibility for deliberately distorting public opinion.

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine will work out the law to define the notion of media manipulation and protection of journalists.

On November 13, the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy of the Verkhovna Rada, presented the concept of the “Media Law." The Servant of People faction is developing a media bill to regulate the mass media and social networks.

On November 2, the head of state Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree enabling the government to work out and to submit by the end of 2019 to the Verkhovna Rada the bill on regulation of media activity in Ukraine, including, in particular, news standards, mechanisms for preventing the spread of untruthful information and for its disclaimer.

NGO “Institute of Mass Information” and NGO “Detector Media” have elaborated its suggestions on the most important spheres of the media bill - about audiovisual media services (media code).

Photo credit: mediapravo.com

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