On 4 July 2018, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Committee on security and defence approved a draft bill that would enable prosecution and the National Security and Defence Council to block Internet sites they deem threatening to national security without a court ruling. According to the bill, Internet sites, can be blocked temporarily if they “threaten national security” or “have an impact on decision-making, or the action or inaction, of national or local government bodies, officials of these bodies, associations of citizens, or legal entities”. Internet providers would have to purchase equipment that would allow the security services to monitor traffic and block websites when they find it necessary. If Internet providers fail to comply, they have to pay fines of 1% of their annual revenues, for repeat offenses the fine is 5%. A number of media watchdogs assessed the bill as a way to introduce Internet censorship and violate privacy on the Internet. According to the MPs supporting the draft amendments, the bill wasn’t aimed at restricting the freedoms of internet users but at combating terrorism and cyber-terrorist activities. The bill is expected to be discussed in Parliament later this month (July 2018).
“The draft bill is highly problematic as it constitutes an important threat to media freedom aside the privacy and the public’s right to access information issues. We are calling the Ukrainian MPs to reassess the bill and to reinstate a judiciary overview on the implementation of these measures”, said the EFJ which has alerted the Council of Europe’s platform on the problem.
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