Misinformation bill: Millions fines and sorting of journalists

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The team of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is preparing a new gift for the media, anti-disinformation bill. Its interim version on Friday, January 17, was presented by Deputy Minister of Culture Anatoly Maksimchuk, So If this bill adopted in its current form, any Facebook user should think twice before posting anything on his own page, otherwise his wallet risks losing weight by a six-figure amount in hryvnas. in particular, censors will appear in the country who will monitor the information space and oblige to refute that which will not have documentary evidence.

New Censors

In the name of fighting disinformation, officials propose expand the regiment of domestic bureaucrats. The Ministry of Culture proposes to introduce a new position – Information Commissioner, who will receive an office and not yet determined staff.

It supposed to be that the new information controller will be appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers from among the candidates introduced by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Culture. His task was to protect society from misinformation and biased information. Deputy Minister of Culture Anatoly Maksimchuk Noted.

Inaccurate information in the understanding of developers – false information about persons, facts, events and phenomena that did not exist at all or that existed, but information about them is incomplete or
distorted.

Misinformation will be considered inaccurate information on issues of public interest, in particular, on national security, territorial integrity, sovereignty, defense of Ukraine, the right of the Ukrainian people to self-determination, life and health of citizens, and the state of the environment. At the same time, unfair advertising and value judgments are not recognized as misinformation, According to the bill.

Commissioner will be able to turn to the media with a demand to either refute the information or provide an opportunity to answer the allegations, If there is no answer in court, a decision may be made to restrict access to this information. However, the developers promise that this will be done only by court order. Also, the Commissioner will be able to contact law enforcement in the event of “the presence of signs of a criminal offense”.

For misinformation, “which threatens national security, public” security “the fine will be up to 2 thousand as minumm, and more than 8 million hryvnas, and even Penal labour up to two years.

Journalists sorting

The journalists will be sorted in the Ministry of Culture to several varieties:professionals and ordinary’s, who are called information disseminators, Professional journalists will be able to count on legal assistance from the government.

If the bill is passed, entry will be denied. Cards of professional journalists will be issued by a certain self-regulatory organization, which has yet to be created. The Journalists without the journalists cards, entry will be denied to Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet, Maksimchuk Said.

Also proposed to introduce a media confidence index. It can be provided to any media after verification of an independent organization “which has the appropriate competence”, But the list of trusted media will depend on the Commissioner for Information, who has already been nicknamed the Commissioner for its blocking.

At the same time, the state is ready to compensate for the media expenses that are registered in our country.

Soon you will have to Rethink three times what to write on your Facebook page. The Ministry of Culture decided to equate the personal page on Facebook with the media and, accordingly, any user can get a fine, if it recognized as misinformation.

New January 16

The Chairman of National Union of Journalists Serhiy Tomilenko criticized the new initiative of the authorities.

“Instead of real priorities – to fight Russian propaganda and anti-Ukrainian fakes, the Ministry of Culture in the draft Law on the fight against disinformation focuses on tight regulation of the professional activities of Ukrainian journalists, Government wants the Ukrainian media to be assigned “Confidence Indices”, and the status of a journalist and a press card are issued by an “independent” journalistic association associated with the government. In fact, there will be several types of journalists in Ukraine. And top-class journalists are promised special protection for their physical safety and job security, ”Tomilenko wrote on  Facebook.

Compareing the proposals of the Ministry of Culture with the so-called dictatorial laws on January 16. “The laws of January 16 are quietly crying compared to what is in this law … remember how the classic-keep silent will get into the executioners,” general producer of the ZIK channel, Natalia Vlashchenko said.

Deputy Minister of Culture Anatoly Maksimchuk urged critics to take part to development of the bill.


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