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Law on oligarchs indirectly imposes censorship - Ombudsperson

03.09.2021, 14:56

The bill on oligrachs conflicts with the Constitution, as the Commissioner for Human Rights at the pariliament Lyudmyla Denisova said. She addressed an official letter to the Chairmen of the Parliament Dmytro Razumkov, pointing at inconsistency of the draft law №5599 “On Prevention of Threats to National Security Related to Excessive Influence of Persons Who Have Significant Economic or Political Weight in Public Life (Oligarchs)", as Interfax-Ukraine reported.

"The results of our analysis of the provisions of the bill raise concerns, as they led us to conclusion that its provisions are unconsistent with the Constitution of Ukraine, and its implementation will translate into violations of human and civil rights and freedoms," the letter said.

The list of such norms includes endowment of the President and the National Security and Defense Council with powers not provided by the Constitution of Ukraine, restriction of human rights depending on property status, indirect imposing of censorship in the media, etc.

"In my opinion, in order to abide with rights and freedoms of citizens and to prevent its violations, while adopting this legislative initiative, this is indispensible to refer it to the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) before the second reading," Denisova suggested.

The Commissioner for Human Rights noted that the adoption of the current law on oligarchs will result in seizure of the Constitutional Court. 

“In case this bill to be adopted in the first reading, I will be obliged to submit a constitutional petition to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to consider the issue of compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine (constitutionality) of such a law, as if in accordance with Art. 15 of the Law of Ukraine "On the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada ", she said.

As IMI reported, on July 1, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the bill #5599 " On Prevention of Threats to National Security Related to Excessive Influence of Persons Who Have Significant Economic or Political Weight in Public Life (Oligarchs)" in first reading.

On June 2, President Volodymyr Zelensky submitted the bill to the Verkhovna Rada as of high priority.

On May 20, Zelensky announced the bill on de-oligarchization was to be issued next days, the bill which, in particular, would weaken the oligarchs' influence on the media. 

On May 27, “Dzerkalo Tyzhdnya” ( edition got acquainted with the text of the bill "On Oligarchs" (elaborated by a working group in the Ministry of Justice) and looked insight its main provisions. The edition claimed that the bill "On Oligarchs" risks becoming a law on media raiding.

The President's Office said that the content of the bill on oligarchs published by ZN.UA did not correspond to the text prepared by the OP. 

IMI Executive Director Oksana Romanyuk found that the bill "On Oligarchs", published by ZN.UA, lays the foundations for a major repartition of the media market and its switchover to the shadows.

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