Ukrainian TV channel fined by regulator for remarks 'inciting hatred'
Ukraine's National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting on Thursday implemented two sanctions against the 112 Ukraine television network: a warning and a fine equivalent to 25% of its license fee for airing remarks "containing calls for an aggressive war or its propaganda and/or inciting ethnic, racial, or religious animosity and hatred."
The move comes after an inspection of the company on January 22, 2020, based on monitoring of the channel's programs aired between August and December 2019, the regulator said on its website.
The remarks were made by guests in the studio.
In processing the results of the inspection, the regulator was guided by the experience of the European Court of Human Rights. In particular, it took into account Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which, on the one hand, establishes the right to freedom of speech, yet at the same time stipulates that the exercise of these freedoms, which come with liabilities and responsibility, may involve certain formalities, conditions, restrictions, or sanctions, as provided by the law and necessary in a democracy.
"The airing by the television channel of these remarks is a direct continuation of Russian propaganda and narratives similar to the official political and propagandist position of the Russian Federation, which has been recognized as an aggressor state by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the international community of a majority of European countries. They bear the hallmarks of prejudice and the manipulation of public opinion, in particular by spreading incomplete or biased information," the regulator said.
Also, the guests' speeches contained deliberate scaremongering, misrepresentation and intimidation, manipulation of words about intentions to kill people, and repeated use of negative language creating a negative image of a certain social group, in particular people who are involved in budget approval and the defense sector, the regulator said.
All the remarks were made not only live on programs, but also in their rebroadcasts.
Given the above, the regulator concluded that the channel is in breach in the law and issued a warning. It also recognized the presence of calls "to launch an aggressive war or its propaganda and/or incite ethnic, racial, or religious animosity and hatred in the remarks aired by the licensee" and fined the channel 25% of its license fee, which is UAH 114,067.
The company has one month to bring its operations into line with the legal requirements.