The Council of Europe and Human Rights Watch: sanctions of Ukraine against Russian Internet resources and media raising questions about freedom of speech
The international community has different views on the decision of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in the country to ban for a period of three years, the Russian social network “Vkontakte” and “Classmates”, as well as the introduction of sanctions against other Russian Internet resources and media.
The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe (COE) thorbjørn Jagland expressed concern about the decree of the President of Ukraine. “Blocking social networking, search engines, email services and news websites is contrary to our common understanding of freedom of opinion and freedom of the media”, – said in a statement quoted by “Interfax”. “Moreover, such a ban is contrary to the principle of proportionality,” – said the Secretary General.
Head of press and information offices of the European Union in Ukraine, requested detailed information from Ukraine new sanctions against Russian companies. “We raised this issue in the dialogue with the Ukrainian side. We expect to obtain detailed information,” he said, noting that a formal rating decision on the EU sanctions can only be given after more detailed information.
International human rights organization Human Rights Watch said that such a ban of social networks, the President of Ukraine struck blow to freedom of speech in your own country. “It is inexcusable violation of the rights of Ukrainians to information of their choice. EU and other international partners
Ukraine should immediately call on Ukraine to cancel it,” – said the expert of the organization on Europe and Central Asia Tanya Cooper. This decree, according to her, Poroshenko struck “a terrible blow to freedom of speech in Ukraine”, reports TASS. Cooper noted that as of April 2017 from 78% of Internet users in Ukraine, or about 20 million people, had an account in a social network “Vkontakte”. “This is a cynical, politically legitimate attack on the right to receive information affecting millions of Ukrainians, their personal and professional lives,” said human rights activist.
In the NATO do not tend to consider blocking Russian Internet resources in Ukraine, the issue of violation of freedom of speech. As stated in the press service of the Alliance, “the Ukrainian government has made clear that this decision is a safety issue, not freedom of speech.” “NATO is working with Ukraine to strengthen its reforms, including issues of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. Freedom of the press is included in this dialogue. We believe in Ukraine’s commitment to its international obligations and the existing in Ukraine system of checks and balances,” – said the press service of NATO.
In Germany with concern the Decree of the President of Ukraine on the restriction of work on the territory of the Russian social networks, search engines, email services and news sites. As stated at the briefing in Berlin the official representative of the German foreign Ministry, Martin Schaefer, German foreign Ministry with concern information on the introduction of Kiev sanctions against Russian companies. “Much of what concerns the sphere of media makes us ask the question about freedom of the press”, – he said, noting that these sanctions do not correspond to European values. However, he said, Ukraine is not a candidate for EU membership.
The official representative of the Cabinet of Germany Steffen Seibert said that Kiev introduced sanctions against Russian companies “should be understood as a reaction to what is happening, but such steps do not contribute to the improvement of Russian-Ukrainian relations”.
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on may 16 introduced a security Council decision on sanctions against social networks “Vkontakte” and “Classmates”, “Mail.ru”, “Yandex” and their services. In Ukraine the audience of the services of companies that are subject to sanctions big enough “Yandex” estimates the number of users in 11 million, on platforms “Mail.ru” talking about 25 million residents of Ukraine, 16 million people use the network “Vkontakte” and about 9.5 million “Classmates”.