Déjà vu. Will the body on protection of public morality reappear in Ukraine?

The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine has decided to develop and approve the personal composition of the Expert Council on the Protection of Public Morality in order to develop the criteria of defining if the product has a pornographic nature.

As reported by the press service of the Ministry, this was decided at a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Culture, the heads of the National Creative Unions of Ukraine, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the State Committee for Television and Radio-broadcasting.

During the meeting the issues of practical implementation of statutes of the Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Public Morality” were addressed. In particular, the terms of ensuring public control over compliance with the legislation in the field of protection of public morality by the creative unions.

“The Ministry of Culture is considering the need to develop a procedure for financing the activities of the creative unions, which are entrusted with implementation of this control, as by requiring the implementation we also must ensure its implementation. However, unfortunately, we can only fund national unions from the state budget, but all the unions are imposed with this control and this issue needs to be addressed. It is also necessary to make certain whether the unions are ready to perform the role of protection of public morality and mechanisms they need for implementation of this role”, - said Svitlana Fomenko, the First Deputy Minister of Culture.

As a reminder, on February 10, 2015, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law “On amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Public Morality” (re state monitoring)”, which foresaw the liquidation of the National Expert Commission on Protection of Public Morality (NEC) as a government body.

The National Expert Commission on Protection of Public Morality was created by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on November 17, 2004. Its function was to check the work of mass media outlets and organizers of public events for presence of sexual or erotic content, violence and cruelty. The Commission was funded from the state budget.

The activity and the mere existence of this body have been repeatedly criticized by journalists, activists and cultural figures. In particular, Oles Ulianenko, Yurii Andrukhovych, Serhiy Zhadan spoke out against the NEC. The Commission was repeatedly accused of attempts to carry out the artistic and political censorship.

The most known decisions of the Commission were a ban of demonstration of The Simpsons animated series, Comedy Club TV show, restriction of broadcast of South Park animated series and the recommendation to ban computer games such as Mortal Kombat, God of War III and Manhunt II.

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