UIA suggested to MPs to report out media bill
The Ukrainian Internet Association (UIA) has suggested to the parliamentary committees to report out the draft law No. 2693 to its draftsmen for revision.
UIA drew attention to a number of novelties of the bill, which, in the opinion of UIA experts, posed "significant threats not only to the mass media, but also at the domain of electronic communications of Ukraine":
- actual recognition of operators, telecom services providers rendering Internet access services as mass mediae and media entities, and therefore their activities will be subject to this law;
- the bill is to impose some obligations to the operators, telecommunications providers providing Internet access services making them to restrict access to the website, these obligations cannot be technically accomplished, as restriction of access to the website is duly fulfilled only at the level of the site owner or hosting (data center);
- The National TV and Radio Broadcasting Council's powers are suggested to be extended to the electronic communications, which, in the opinion of UIA, contradicts the Association Agreement and other EU directives in the field of electronic communications, which stipulate that regulation is carried out by a separate independent national regulator in the field of electronic communications (National commission for the state regulation of communications and informatization, NCCIR);
- audiovisual service providers are under an obligation to keep records of users of media services and to report this information to the National Council through an electronic office;
- the proposed list of restrictions as to the content of prohibited information disseminated, according to the UIA, is unclear and creates corruption prerequisites for subjective interpretations by representatives of the National Council in the application of sanctions and penalties to economic entities;
- it is proposed to pay a separate fee to the National Council for all services provided using the services of an electronic communications service provider and those provided via the Internet, which, in the opinion of INAU, actually means continuous accounting and censorship of the activities of telecommunications entities.
It should be reminded that on December 27, 2019, a group of MPs registered the draft law No. 2693 “On media”. Its authors were members of the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko, Mykyta Poturayev, Yevgeniya Kravchuk, Iryna Konstankevych, Oleksandr Kabanov, Andriy Boblyakh, Yelyzaveta Bogutska, Tatiana Tyabukha, Pavlo Sushko, Dmytro Nalyotov, and member of the Committee on freedom of speech Tetyana Tsyba.
The new legislative act should become a comprehensive document that will replace several media laws: on television and radio broadcasting, on the printed press, on news agencies, on the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting, on state support for mass media and social protection of journalists, on the procedure for covering the activity of state authorities and local self-government bodies in Ukraine by the mass media.
On January 13, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy is to consider the draft law.