Editorial integrity and the independence of the media are today put at risk by a dramatic decline in revenues of the traditional media and by increased threats from organised crime, terrorism, armed conflicts and authoritarian excesses in certain States. Journalists are often subject to harassment and intimidation, arbitrarily deprived of their freedom, physically attacked, tortured and even killed. This was reported by Volodymyr Ariev, the Chairman of Ukraine's Delegation to the PACE at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly on April 25.
Volodymyr Ariev called on the Member States to review their national legislation, particularly on defamation and enhanced surveillance powers as part of the fight against terrorism.
"They should also prohibit by law propaganda for war and incitement to national, racial or religious hatred. At the same time, States should examine the issue of the abnormal imbalance in revenues between news media outlets and internet corporations, and find solutions to rectify this imbalance," the message says.
European Union East StratCom Task Force says Russian media transmitted disinformation on Donbas conflict, the downing of a Boeing 777 in 2014, Volodymyr Ariev reported. The authors of the objectionable material are largely journalists working for State-owned or government-supporting Russian media but the campaign is seen as a tool of Russian policy. Several nearby governments, including Ukraine, Sweden and Denmark, have said that fake news from Russia represents a threat to their national security.
He reminded that a Joint Declaration 19 issued in March 2017 by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and three regional rapporteurs said that State actors should not make, sponsor or disseminate disinformation or propaganda, and called on them to establish regulatory frameworks for broadcasters overseen by a body with safeguards against political and commercial interference or pressure.
"Stopfake, a Ukrainian website managed by journalists, journalism students and others since 2014, has generated a high level of awareness about the nature and scale of distorted information and propaganda in the media about events in Crimea. It publishes detailed analyses exposing and refuting falsehoods and distortions," it was also stated.
As it was reported earlier, Ariev announced that the Bureau of the PACE refused will hold the urgent debates on the request of the UK, Ukraine and other countries on the poisoning of ex-GRU officer Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury and illegal election in annexed Crimea.
The spring PACE session is taking place on April 23-27. it is expected that the Donbas Conflict, Russia's election in occupied Crimea, hybrid war and fake news will be discussed.
In the adopted amendment, the formulation ‘uncontrolled by government territories’ was replaced by ‘the territories temporarily occupied by the Russian occupation administration’ as MP Oleksy Honcharenko reported to 112 Ukraine.