Freedom of speech, national security, and Ukrainian media: is there any balance that can make everyone satisfied

  • 25.11.2021

Since the beginning of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine the need to protect national security arose not just on the traditional battlefield, but in the information space as well. Due to the need to prevent media influences coming from the north-eastern border, Ukrainian MPs developed and adopted a number of legislative acts aimed to reduce Russian influence. They were related both to the increase in the number of banned content categories, in particular, broadcasts popularizing the authorities of the aggressor state, Russian movies produced after 2014, etc., and promotion of the Ukrainian language. 

Other state authorities also joined in the process of ensuring national security interests, in particular, the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine and the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. Unfortunately, the measures they introduced, like imposition of sanctions, did not meet the standards of securing freedom of expression, enshrined in international legal acts, in particular, the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Due to that, establishment of the adequate balance between those values requires introduction of a number of legislative amendments, in particular, cancellation or at least regulation of the procedure of “black list” compilation, updating of sanctions legislation and legislation on the protection of national minorities, as well as improvement of the level of trust in law enforcement.

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