16:36 07.03.2023

Law On Media complies with standards of Council of Europe – experts' conclusion

3 min read
Law On Media complies with standards of Council of Europe – experts' conclusion

Experts of the Council of Europe (CoE) generally positively assessed the law "On Media" adopted by the Verkhovna Rada, the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting reported.

"At the request of the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy, the Council of Europe provided an expert opinion on the compliance of the new law ‘On Media’ with the EU Directive 2018/1808 on audiovisual media services (AVMSD). It is published on the European Council website. It says that the law ‘On Media’ complies with the Directive and standards of the Council of Europe," the National Council on TV and Radio reported on Tuesday.

The National Council stressed that "the assessment of experts is quite positive."

The analysis of the legislative act was carried out by experts of the Council of Europe Yves Salomon and Tanja Kerševan.

Experts noted that the adopted law "On Media" is much better than the previous version of the draft law "On Media" No. 2693-d, however, there are still points that are recommended to be resolved.

"The scope of the media law is wide and covers, in addition to broadcasting, custom media services and video sharing platforms, also print and online media and electronic communications operators. This, according to experts, is unusual, but is not prohibited by the AVMSD and Council of Europe standards," the report says.

At the same time, experts noted that there is no consistency of the law with the Directive on the Language of Hostility, since not all characteristics protected by Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union fall under the prohibition of the language of hostility. All of these characteristics fall under the prohibition of discrimination or harassment, but they should also be extended to the category of hatred.

According to the experts' conclusions, the article on the protection of minors in the new law is now consistent with the standards of the Directive and the Council of Europe on Audiovisual media services.

"The only minor drawback ... is the fact that the restrictions on temporary screening for 16+ films come into force only a year after the adoption of the law. This seems to be a long time and technically does not comply with article 7.2 of the Regulation on Cross-Border Broadcasting," the report says.

The experts of the Council of Europe in their conclusions noted that the Ukrainian legislator eliminated the main shortcomings of the bill and found a way to ensure effective regulation of the retransmission of foreign services without violating the principle of the EU country of origin. However, in their opinion, for a full assessment of the consequences, the law "On the Foreign Broadcasting System of Ukraine" should be taken into account.

Experts were concerned about two provisions of the law related to the so-called prohibited list. In their opinion, the legal grounds for not disclosing the reason for getting a person on the list are not clear. Experts believe that common causes should be transparently disclosed. The experts also drew attention to the provision of the law related to the re-evaluation of persons already on this list.

"Although the transitional provisions of the law provide that the names on the list available on the date of entry into force of the law do not need to be re-evaluated, they are convinced that such a re-evaluation should be carried out, since inclusion in the list is a serious restriction of freedom of expression," the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting noted.