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OSCE urges Kiev to remove media restrictions from anti-Russian sanctions law

August 12, 2014, 17:43 UTC+3 VIENNA
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic says a draft law on sanctions registered in the Verkhovna Rada runs counter to Kiev’s obligations regarding the freedom of speech
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OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic

©  EPA/LAJOS SOOS

VIENNA, August 12. /ITAR-TASS/. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic on Tuesday urged the Ukrainian parliament to remove media restrictions from the anti-Russian sanctions law.

She said the law was contrary to Kiev’s obligations regarding the freedom of speech and mass media.

A draft law on sanctions registered in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) on August 8 and approved in the first reading on Tuesday allows authorities to prohibit or restrict television and radio channel retransmission; restrict or terminate media activities, including on the Internet; restrict or prohibit the production or distribution of printed materials; and restrict or terminate telecommunication services and public telecommunications network use.

“I call on the members of the Verkhovna Rada to drop the provisions of the law endangering media freedom and pluralism and going against OSCE commitments on free expression and free media,” Mijatovic wrote in a letter to Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov.

The OSCE representative said she understood Kiev’s national security concerns about the ongoing conflict, but stressed that “this should not justify a disproportionate restriction on freedom of expression and freedom of the media”.

“The measures included in the draft law represent a clear violation of international standards and thus directly curtail the free flow of information and ideas - the concept that lies at the heart of free expression and free media. The draft law effectively reverses much of Ukraine’s progress in media freedom,” she said.

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