In Ukraine, it's impossible to prohibit broadcasting of football from Russia

Author : Andrey Kokotiukha

Source : 112 Ukraine

Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Expression and Information Policy supported draft resolution No. 8343 regarding the ban on broadcasting in Ukraine of the 2018 World Cup, which will be held in Russia
22:37, 11 June 2018

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112 Agency

Ukrainian authorities decided to ban football. There is already a corresponding legislative initiative. To be precise, not all football and not forever. Just the day before, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Expression and Information Policy supported draft resolution No. 8343 regarding the ban on broadcasting in Ukraine of the 2018 World Cup, which will be held in Russia. The document, in particular, proposes to recognize that the broadcast of events that will be held on the territory of the Russian Federation violates the legitimate rights and interests of Ukrainian citizens. After all, our country was subjected to armed aggression by Russia, and we have already four years of occupation by the Russian Federation of part of the Ukrainian territories.

I think it’s a strange idea. After all, there are no official prohibitions for Ukrainian citizens to work in Russia. We have regular railway communication with the aggressor state, and the passenger train with the now exotic name Lviv-Moscow is still running and is quite cost-effective. The Security Service of Ukraine did not summon Ukrainian artists for the interrogation: Vitaly Kozlovsky, Ani Lorak, Svitlana Loboda, Andriy Danilko. They have concerts in Russia and do not really hide it.

At the same time, the message on the Facebook page of People's Deputy Serhiy Leshchenko looks strange. He traditionally criticizes the authorities, part of which he is, calling the decision of his colleagues a stupid PR and treating Ukrainians as idiots. But Leshchenko's wife, DJ Anastasia Topolskaya, also performs in Russian nightclubs. And when she is criticized for this in social network, she expresses herself in the address of fellow citizens in about the same manner. Although everything is clear: you allow a tour in Russia – so let's go there for football.

The situation can be understood, at least we can try. Just take into account all points of view, including the position of those 5 thousand Ukrainian citizens who have already allegedly bought tickets to Moscow to visit football match, and those few dozens of social network residents who were outraged by such action during the war. However, the decision of the Verkhovna Rada Committee and the exposure of Facebook's "riot" smashed to pieces the fact, unveiled two years ago: Ukraine has 5 million satellite antennas. Not all of them are legally installed, and I suspect that, as of now, the figure has changed in the direction of growth. Add to this the more recent data released in March this year: 52% of Ukrainians are against the ban on Russian TV channels, and 46% want to return VKontakte and other Russian social networks.

No one knows what to do with the millions of our fellow citizens who still do not understand that we have a war with Russia. But we know for sure: the above-mentioned millions of antennas Ukrainians installed to be able to view forbidden Russian channels. So, the broadcast of football, despite the probable ban to conduct it officially, for example, live on one or several Ukrainian channels, will be conducted via satellites. Probably, it will be possible to watch football without punishment in numerous cafes and bars of Kyiv and other cities where owners have put plasma television panels and satellite antennas to them. Even advertising will appear, because watching football matches is always beneficial for pubs.

Do you imagine the raids of the National Police on such places on the days of the prohibited football broadcasting? I don’t. Or will the Security Service call for an interrogation if not the spectators, but at least the organizers of such sessions? It’s too hard to imagine. And despite the realization that Russia is our enemy, I personally am not ready to predict the mass arrests of those Ukrainian citizens who will go there to football. In the last twenty years, the worst has already happened. For various reasons, we lost control over our own information space. They did not even rent it out, like in Crimea - they allowed annexing and occupying, sincerely considering the content of channels like "Our cinema" and "Our new cinema" is really ours.

Football fans, who are numerous in Ukraine, could theoretically show solidarity by boycotting the viewing of matches that take place in Russia. However, all orders not to watch these football matches, appealing to patriotism, will not be heard by anyone. Also, bans on viewing not only football - anything, that is in the information space will not work.

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