From July 10 to July 28, the International Media Law Summer School has been held; it is an educational project for media lawyers from the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law. During this time, participants from 5 countries have been attending lectures from Ukrainian and foreign media experts and they have also taken part in discussions on legal topics.
During the second week of the Summer school, 15 lectures have taken place on a wide range of topics, also the participants have performed practical tasks.
This week the topic of School has included not only media issues, but also the implementation of reform and the work of the public sector. Taras Shevchenko, the Director of the CEDEM, has described how the idea of the creation of the Reanimation Package of Reforms – coalition of leading Ukrainian NGOs – appeared, as well as its priorities, and he has also told about the cycles of development of policies. Artem Myrhorodskyi, the head of the Secretariat of the RPR, has familiarized the school participants with the structure of the coalition and the decision-making procedure within the coalition. Moreover, Vadym Miskyi, the head of the advocacy branch of the RPR, has allocated the greatest achievements of the coalition and shared practical tips for effective advocacy.
The reform theme has been continued by Ihor Rozkladai, the lawyer of the Media Law Institute (Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law) with the lecture on reform of Ukrainian media, including the creation of Public Broadcasting service, privatization of the press and the legislative changes in media sphere. In the following lesson, Ihor Rozkladai has told about the public morality and its value in the legal field. The participants of the Summer school have also held a short debate on whether society needs a law that sets the limits of moral behavior.
They have talked to Taras Shevchenko about the activities of the media during elections. They have differentiated activity regulations of public and private media during this period, as well as requirements for television and radio, in contrast to the requirements for the press. In addition, the lecturer has told about the European practice of the regulation of the political advertising.
Another important topic for media – the language issues – has been arisen by Maksym Dvorovyi, the lawyer of the Media Law Institute (Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law). His lecture has concerned the legal regulation of the use of languages, the protection of linguistic rights, as well as ECHR practice in this field.
More about the practice of ECHR has been quoted by Liudmyla Opryshko, the lawyer, media lawyer, Platform of human rights. The expert has drawn the attention on the bright cases involving Ukraine, in particular, claims “the Ukrainian Рress Group” and LLC “Institute of economic reforms”. She has also shared her own experience of advocacy in the ECHR and won cases.
The participants of the Summer school have continued to analyze the structure of the article 10 of the ECHR in the context of necessary restrictions of freedom of speech in a democratic society. Along with Taras Shevchenko there have been discussed this topic, as well as the case of the “Handyside vs. the United Kingdom”, whose conclusion has became the base for the protection of freedom of speech from illegal restrictions. In addition, they have discussed features of the right to reply and the Institute of refutation of the false information.
The following question in the Summer school has been about access to information. Toby Mendel, the media expert, the head of the Supervisory Board of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy has talked about the idea of the right to access to information and the importance of clear procedures for its security. Another lecture he has devoted to is the use of IT technologies for information access. What works better: the request via e-mail or online platform and how Mexico has built one of the best world platforms for Administration queries – this has been discussed in the lectures. Moreover, Toby Mendel has told about models of supervisors in the field of access: the pros and cons of their decisions and different ways to appeal the refusal.
Toby Mendel has also told about the hate speech, including comparing the models of the United States and the European countries. In a democratic country the ban of hate speech does not mean excessive restrictions of freedom of expression, because it is always clear where the boundary lays, he thinks. In continuation of the lectures, the media expert has also discussed with the participants the protection of personal data and privacy, in particular in the modern period of development of new technologies.
The work of the UN Committee on human rights and its special procedures for the protection of human rights have been told by Tetiana Oleksiuk, the Deputy Director of CEDEM. She has told the listeners about the Universal Periodic Review and emphasized the importance of efforts by the human rights organizations for the improvement of human rights.
The participants of the schools have also visited National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine, where Daria Yurovska, her program director, Mykola Chernotytskyi, the member of the Board of JSC “NPRU” have talked about what a public broadcaster must become and what kind of measures should be taken for this soon. They have drown attention to the fact that one of the key criteria for successful broadcaster would be the trust of the audience, not its ratings, and that the priority will have content, not the platform, through which it goes to the citizens.
The Project “Freedom of media in Ukraine”, implemented within the Council of Europe and European Union Programme Partnership for Good Governance is aimed to improve freedom, independence, pluralism and diversity of media in Ukraine
The Council of Europe Project “Strengthening Freedom of the Media and Establishing a Public Broadcasting System in Ukraine” aims to enhance the role of media in general and the public broadcaster in particular as instruments for consensus building in the Ukrainian society. The Project is implemented in the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2015-2017.
The summer media law school is conducted with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided through Internews.