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THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE HAS SIGNED THE LAW ON THE BAN OF RUSSIAN FILMS

On 2 April 2015, the President of Ukraine signed the law “On Amending Certain Laws of Ukraine on the protection of television and radio space of Ukraine”. The text of the law was sent for the signature to the President on 19 March 2015.

The law forbids the distribution and demonstration of films that popularize organs of state-aggressor, soviet public safety organs etc. The state-aggressor, according to the law, is the state, which occupied the territory of Ukraine or which commited aggression against Ukraine and which is recognized as the aggressor by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. At the same time, the law determine that Russian Federation is the state-aggressor and the state-occupant. This is stated in para. 2 of the Final provisions.

Detailed criteria for the recognition that the film includes popularization or propaganda of the state-aggressor, creating positive image of the state-aggressor workers, the soviet public safety organs’ workers, justifying or admitting the occupation of the territory of Ukraine as legitimate, should be determined by the State Agency of Ukraine on Movie Issues. State certificates for the right to distribution and demonstration of such films will not be published. Furthermore, the MPs voted for the amendment, providing the ban of showing and distribution of the films of the state-aggressor, made after 1 January 2014.

Fines from 10 to 50 minimum wages will be imposed on the TV-channels that broadcast the forbidden movies. The State Agency of Ukraine on Movie Issues has the authority to impose the fine. The National Council for Radio and Television will be monitoring the compliance of the TV-channels with this law, informing the State Agency about the infringements.

The Media Law Institute evaluates this law negatively as it is in conflict with the freedom of expression principles. The detailed position of the MLI is available at: http://www.medialaw.kiev.ua/news/organization/2993/.

As it is stated in para. 1 of the Final provisions of the law, this law will enter into force in two months after its publication. Despite the fact that the President signed the text of the law, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine still have not publish the final version of the adopted law. Only the text of the second hearing may be found on the Parliament website (which was fundamentally amended during the sessional review). Previously, the text of the adopted law was published on the “Telekritika” website.

The document is available at: http://www.telekritika.ua/pravo/2015-03-19/105118.

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