Banning TV, radio broadcasts poses threat to media freedom in Ukraine, OSCE representative says
NEW YORK, 26 February 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today expressed concern about an initiative by a group of members of Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, to ban broadcasts of some television and radio programmes in the country.
“Banning broadcasts is one of the most extreme forms of interference in media freedom and should only be applied in exceptional circumstances,” Mijatović wrote in a letter to Oleksandr Turchinov, Acting President of Ukraine and Chair of the Verkhovna Rada. “While recognizing the authorities may be motivated by national security concerns, restrictions such as these should be fully in line with international standards.”
On 22 February a group of members of the Verkhovna Rada filed proposals in Parliament which would ban broadcast and rebroadcast of certain television and radio programmes produced in countries, which are not party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television.
“The Convention should not be interpreted to undermine international media freedom standards that must prevail,” Mijatović said. “I firmly believe that in difficult and sensitive situations such as the current one in Ukraine, media freedom and plurality of opinions must be ensured. All citizens must have the right to receive all available information, irrespective of its source, without interference from the authorities and regardless of frontiers, so that democratic processes in the country can be strengthened.”
“Therefore, I call on the authorities to withdraw the proposed decree as it endangers media pluralism and goes against international principles and OSCE commitments. I am looking forward to my visit to Kyiv next week when we can discuss these issues and how my Office can support Ukraine,” Mijatović said.
Mijatović is currently in New York participating in an international conference on media freedom.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on facebook.com/osce.rfom.