15 June, 2018 0 606
On June 15 at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future was held a discussion "Challenges to Freedom" with the participation of Maria Mytsio, Joseph Zissels, Vsevolod Rechynskyi, Ayder Muzhdabaev and Anton Gerashchenko.
Taras Berezovets, the co-founder of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, moderated the discussion.
During the event, the participants discussed the ethics of the Babchenko’s case, the feasibility of broadcasting the Football Championship in Russia on Ukrainian TV channels, and other controversial cases concerning the possibility of restricting freedom of speech during the hybrid war.
Uifuture.org introduces several theses from the discussion. A full video of the event is available on YouTube.
Maria Mytsio – an American journalist, former Director of USAID Media Protection Program in Ukraine.
- The task of civil society is to distinguish the legitimate restrictions from illegitimate ones.
The main problem that I see in Ukraine is the big difference between the concepts "civil society" and "people." I would like to draw your attention to the fact that most of the experts who speak on behalf of Ukraine abroad are in Kyiv. Everyone in Ukraine knows that there is a war here, and people who come to Kyiv simply cannot understand it, because in Kiev it's very nice, very calm. This creates an asymmetry with which Ukraine must fight, in addition to military aggression.
Existing standards in the media were developed after the Second World War and do not take into account the state of war. This creates a lot of controversy and misunderstanding.
For Western civil society, national security is an excuse for restricting civil rights. After September 11, there were very strict restrictions on what is allowed and not allowed on television, for example. If people did not like something, they boycotted, called advertisers and were telling that they would not buy their products. Russia itself can ignore the rules, but Ukraine, however, cannot, because it is dependent on Western financial and political assistance.
Joseph Zissels – a member of the December 1st Initiative Group, chairman of the Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations of Ukraine (VAAD of Ukraine)
- I want to talk about 2 aspects: freedom of speech and freedom of law. Freedom is when a person cannot be forced to do something contrary to his/her beliefs. When military operations restrict freedom of speech, this is done through the parliament. The state must protect its national security on the basis of the law, but in such a way that citizen’s freedoms do not suffer. The problem is whether we ourselves can determine the limitations of freedom under a martial law and will we be able to return those freedoms to people in future. The authorities are very good at limiting, but have difficulty in giving freedom.
Vsevolod Rechynskyi – a member of the December 1st Initiative Group
- The one who forbids (authority - ed. note) is less important than the one who is forbidden (people - ed. note). The people are the recipient of truth. They select leaders on the basis of information. The authorities have no right to pass a law that restricts freedom of speech.
When the European Convention was drafted, the famous Article 10 on freedom of expression, even at the development stage the British experts were telling, in particular, that the West did not actually need any restrictions – and there were 13 of them, but if we want to involve people's democracies in this process, they will not agree without these restrictions. In fact, these 13 restrictions were made up more for such countries as ours, especially when it was still socialistic. So, you should not really believe this Article 10.
In 1992, when the draft Constitution of Ukraine was discussed in a narrow circle of experts from Ukraine and the West, an American expert Gregory Stanton, a professor, said that Article 34, that was a copy of Article 10, – is a "dream of a tyrant", because 12 grounds for limitation freedom of speech mean practically blocking it, and I absolutely agree with it.
Ayder Muzhdabaev – a Crimean Tatar journalist, deputy director of the Crimean Tatar television channel ATR.
- I am a supporter of freedom of speech. I must say that Ukrainian journalism is still post-Soviet. Until there is a media that can earn money, the media will be influenced by the oligarchic industrial groups that finance it. Because the consumer does not want to pay and this is a problem all over the world.
Many journalists at present only pretend to adhere to standards. Some journalists frankly admit that they make materials only for the sake of "likes".
The function of journalism is to work for society. The media must produce the truth. Journalists working for themselves are actually not needed; it's a defect in production.
Journalism as a profession loses to lies. The world broadcasts the discourse of Russian propaganda through the helplessness of Ukrainian journalism.
Curvature of the information field, compliance with standards does not apply during the war.
Anton Gerashchenko, People's Deputy, co-founder of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future.
- Information is a weapon, so Ukraine must defend its sovereignty.
Let’s speak about the case of Arkadiy Babchenko. Ukraine and our law enforcement agencies had full right to conduct those operative-search measures that were resolved by the court and the investigation office. The staging of the murder of Arkadiy Babchenko was made exactly according to Article 271 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine - this is a staging of the crime in order to enable organizers and customers to be sure that Babchenko is dead, in order to better document their relationship and to receive even more evidence. I support this, and it was done right. Everything that concerns further actions was the development of Russian propaganda.
At the Ukrainian Institute for the Future Muzhdabaev, Zissels, Berezovets, Rechynskyi, Mytsio and Gerashchenko discussed the problems of censorship in the modern world under conditions of the hybrid war.