Location Ukraine Ukraine

Draconian bill submitted to Ukrainian parliament

16.06.2015 — Draconian bill submitted to parliament

Three members of the Rada (Ukrainian parliament) introduced a bill on 9 June on “the method of information during anti-terrorist operations.” Its authors include the secretary of the parliamentary committee on national security and defence issues, Ivan Vinnik, who is a member of the ruling Petro Poroshenko Bloc.

The bill incorporates many existing provisions from the criminal code and anti-terrorism law, but also bans “the dissemination of terrorism ideology in all its forms.” The penalties would include jail terms of up to five years, possibly accompanied by seizure of assets and a temporary ban on exercising a profession. The bill would also prohibit certain kinds of information about “anti-terrorist operations” such as the one under way in eastern Ukraine, but for the time being specifies no penalty for this offence.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is particularly concerned about the potential use of such a broad and vague concept as “terrorist ideology.” In the absence of any official definition, judges would have too much leeway in their interpretation, with the result that it could be used to discourage or suppress independent journalism. It would become harder for journalists to cover the situation at the frontline, or to investigate such issues as military-linked corruption. RSF therefore urges parliamentarians to reject the bill on first reading.


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