KyivPost

Euro 2012 as a pretext for political censorship

Print version
Jan. 9, 2012, 11:28 p.m. | Op-ed — by Halya Coynash

Supporters of Ukraine's jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko take part to a protest outside the women's prison where she is being held, in Kharkiv on Jan. 5. Her continued imprisonment makes it more likely that political protests could dominate Ukraine's hosting of the Euro 2012 soccer championships this summer.
© AFP PHOTO/ MIKHAIL KUCHNEV

Halya Coynash

Halya Coynash is a member of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

SEE ALSO
Yet another dangerous legislative initiative could become law in the near future, this time under the pretext of preserving public safety during the Euro 2012 football championships that Ukraine will co-host with Poland this summer. Some terrible stadium disasters, as well as scenes of violence at football matches, make laws aimed at ensuring players’ and spectators’ safety important.

This is, apparently, the aim of a draft law registered in parliament on Dec. 29 by Party of the Regions deputy. Vadim Kolisnichenko.

Most of the amendments proposed are unquestionably needed. Fireworks are dangerous, while measures are also needed to prevent racist, xenophobic or offensive chants and behavior during matches.

But why “posters, banners and flags of a political nature” are also deemed a threat to public order is less obvious.

The draft bill would prohibit “the chanting of a xenophobic, racist, anti-Semitic or discriminatory nature, or demonstration of posters, banners and flags, including of a political nature, as well as other media which insult the honor and dignity of official figures, arbiters running sports competitions, teams, opponents, fans of a rival team or others before during and after sports competitions.”

Kolisnichenko makes much of the need to bring Ukrainian law into line with UEFA demands and general European standards for such events. It is difficult to imagine any European Union country imposing a hefty fine or jailing somebody for up to 15 days for holding up a banner accusing the president of political repression and demanding the release of members of the opposition.

Nor is it easy to envisage the need arising in EU countries.

This, however, is in no small part because such obvious encroachments of freedom of expression are inconceivable. Not so in Ukraine, as events late last summer showed.

During a football match on Aug. 7 in Kyiv, Dynamo fans chanted “Thank you residents of donbas for the president pederast.” The video clip on YouTube was viewed by more than a million people.

The printing company ProstoPrint swiftly came out with T-shirts reading “Thank You, Residents of Donbas,” for which they were subjected to heavy-handed police tactics for attempting to distribute the t-shirts. The owner of ProstoPrint, Denis Oliynykov, left Ukraine on Sept. 21 after the police put pressure on his firm and told the BBC Ukrainian Service that he was considering asking for political asylum in a European country

The Kyiv police, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Boris Kolesnikov, insisted that the checks carried out were linked with unlawful use of the Euro 2012 logo. Oliynykov’s assertion that the police pressure was because of the political nature of the t-shirts is more believable.

In light of the prosecution of leading opposition figures, including the seven-year prison sentence to former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, political protest is more than likely during Euro 2012. It would by most desirable for UEFA and EU countries to clearly explain to the Ukrainian authorities which restrictions cannot be imposed under a smokescreen of concern for public order during Euro 2012.

Halya Coynash is a member of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group.
The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively debate. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. If you think that a posted comment violates these standards, please flag it and alert us. We will take steps to block violators.
Anonymous Jan. 9, 2012, 11:48 p.m.    

But why “posters, banners and flags of a political nature” are also deemed a threat to public order is less obvious.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/op_ed/detail/120218/#ixzz1j04TuHTP

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 9, 2012, 11:50 p.m.    

as well as other media which insult the honor and dignity of official figures,

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/op_ed/detail/120218/20/page/1/#comments#ixzz1j055BqQQ

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 1:36 a.m.    

There's not much honour in Ukraine's government.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 9, 2012, 11:53 p.m.    

Hopefully the banning will encourage the protesters even more!!

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 2:27 a.m.    

Hmmm..

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 2:23 a.m.    

Kyivpost is renowned for applying its own form of political censorship.

All comments published i relation to UK Ambassador, Leigh Tuner's Op-Ed have been removed as have comments in relation to the Ukrainian Shopping Mall dispute.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 2:26 a.m.    

What is happening here

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/op_ed/detail/120128/

Before this Op-Ed was open to comments and now Kyivpost has restricted comments. WHY? Censorship At work?

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 3:57 a.m.    

What's up with deleting the comments for the poster of the year, covered in beautiful blue paint !

......Criminal case launched for damaging Yanukovych billboard.....

Por arm reaches into the editors offices ???

Shame....

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 5:13 a.m.    

They even removed comments criticizing US think tank Democracy House and comments made by the UK Ambassador,Leigh Turner, with no valid reason. The comments were political but not abusive. It demonstrates that there is no free media or freedom to only manipulate and censor public debate. The readership should have an explanation. Was censorship of public debate on KP's own volition or a request/demand from the British Government? This seriously undermines confidence in KP's independence which up until now I thought was balanced and professional. Was it a direction from the top or is the editor exerting his influence and political interference to protect his mates?

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 5:16 a.m.    

Plain misuse and abuse of privilege. Just goes to show you that if you live in a corrupt world you become corrupt. Why should we expect anything different from KP?

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 4:49 a.m.    

Most people know that Kolesnichenko is nothing but a Russian stooge who works for the FSB and is paid by Putin...disgusting example of a so called Ukrainian deputy ...wont see a Ukrainian equivalent in the ruska duma.This guy is a joke and is paid by the kremlin to destroy Ukrainian unity and nationhood ...he is cow dung.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 5:46 a.m.    

Banners,flags,etc. are banned because they can be used to incite political or sectarian passions.Sad it has come to this but all over the world you get people at these events who ruin it for the fans by starting trouble.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 11:23 a.m.    

No they are banned because they can be used as a weapon and an means of obscuring potential hot spots or trouble. It is about security not politics.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 11, 2012, midnight    

I cannot speak for other European nations, but in the UK, fans regularly takes flags and massive banners into football grounds. And they do not get arrested for doing so.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 7:54 a.m.    

Foreignnotes

Gloomy assessment for 2012

http://foreignnotes.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/gloomy-assessment-for-2012.htm

Whilst Ukraine remains beholden to presidential rule it will never be a free democratic state

if the opposition manage to win the next parliamentary election (Unlikely as the new electoral system that they agreed to is against them) then what?

The president holds all the power. The division and conflict remain.

The opposition have no policy for constitutional change.

Censorship, division and political dominance for self interest will continue unabated leaving Ukraine vulnerable to collapse and take-over.

Yushchenko still remains the worst president second only to whoever holds the presidential office now or in the future

The choice is clear you either have a democratic parliamentary government or you retain a presidential autocracy. Like oil and water, chalk and cheese the two do not mix. Like Siamese twins how do you separate them and keep one alive. Which one do you keep?

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 8:03 a.m.    

If Yushchenko has not betrayed Ukraine and opposed Ukraine becoming a true democracy Ukraine would not be in the position it is in today.

If the opposition can win the parliament they will still not be control. They will still be divided without direction or solutions. The momentum of the revolving door will continue to spin like a ship without a rudder or an engine caught in a whirlpool and a storm as it is thrown onto the rocks.

If Ukraine want to be a free independent democratic state it needs to adopt European values and European models of governance. It needs to follow in the foot steps of Estonia and Latvia and adopt a full Parliamentary system of government, Failing that there will be no change of faite or fortune.

Until then 2012 offers Ukraine little comfort or hope.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 13, 2012, 11:58 p.m.    

Not my comment, but...........

Dude... do you ever get tired of printing the same old tired empty rhetoric that people are obviously not interested in hearing? Your argument is empty and useless since you fail to comprehend that a Parliamentary system (of which Ukraine does currently have) have is useless if the selected leaders and members are corrupt. Curruption is the enemy, corrupt leaders are what is not wanted. Granted leaders of solid strong moral value and a dedication and accountability to the Ukrainian people and it's nation succeed the current corrupt crowd of leaders then a Presidential or solely Parliamentary system would both equally be successful. It would be nice if your theme reflected this more than the useless and endless empty talk about a Parliamentary system in a totally corrupt environment. Reform the leaders is of greater priority.

Read more:

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/op_ed/detail/120480/#ixzz1jNRrCAmN

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 8:04 a.m.    

.

If Yushchenko had not betrayed Ukraine and opposed Ukraine becoming a true democracy Ukraine would not be in the position it is in today.

If the opposition can win the parliament they will still not be control. They will still be divided without direction or solutions. The momentum of the revolving door will continue to spin like a ship without a rudder or an engine caught in a whirlpool and a storm as it is thrown onto the rocks.

If Ukraine want to be a free independent democratic state it needs to adopt European values and European models of governance. It needs to follow in the foot steps of Estonia and Latvia and adopt a full Parliamentary system of government, Failing that there will be no change of fate or fortune.

Until then 2012 offers Ukraine little comfort or hope.

.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 4:36 p.m.    

Lets hope that Euro 2012 is a safe,fun time for all.Everything doesn't have to be turned into a political issue.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 7:15 p.m.    

People/citizens come first....then fun and sport....

The only solution....REVOLUTION....

When.......JUNE2012.....

Marie Antoinette said,...&quot;if the people are hungry,,let them eat cake...&quot;

Then she lost her head to the guillotine.....!!!

People make a nation.....not a few corrupt crooks who use the country , for their entertainment.....

.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 8:54 p.m.    

Revolution,civil war will cause suffering for the innocent.Who will care/ protect the old,young,disabled if there is fighting in the country.No revolution is not the answer.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 5:43 p.m.    

the west should all boycott these games.....

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 9:17 p.m.    

That's right censorship the games. Is this not what the US did it the Moscow 1980 Olympics/ What was the reason for the boycott again? That's right the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. LOL LOL..

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 10:38 p.m.    

America condemns the Soviet Union for invading Afghanistan. Then the usa does it 20 years later.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 7:46 p.m.    

Yanukovych approves expansion of SBU's powers to investigate riots

Jan 6 at 14:20 | Interfax-Ukraine

Read more:

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/politics/detail/120113/#ixzz1j4tCHJqy

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 10, 2012, 10:53 p.m.    

The above Editor's Note was written by a PoR troll unconcerned for truth.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Mykhayl Jan. 11, 2012, 5:58 a.m.    

Well...

If you want to hide a manuscript you put it into a case of books.

If you want to defuse banners and flags, supply yours at ridiculously cheap prices. Do opposition banners in Ukrainian too…

If you want to finish off a society you bombard them with football comedy, football tragedy, football action, football documentary TV programing with plots showing how a certain actions can work in your favor and/or disfavor. Then do talk shows, host shows. cooking shows about acceptable discipline in various situations, including eating sauerkraut in a crowd or thanking everyone and mostly when someone's mother for feeding you. Do uniquely clever (not vulgar) T-shirts. Everyone wants to fit in. Oh yes and no negative PR and especially that no means NO.

From seeing new immigrants who find every opportunity, loophole and break in the fence for getting over on the Man be ge a Ukrainian or not. Soviet raised see not how their actions can have any repercussions on them, their parents, ancestors, friends and neighbor. But that is economics. If Ukrainians get a bad name for the 2012 or the scuttle of jokes they will just change languages and tell all including their own children they are not really Ukrainian but of a Russian cossacks (Kozacks) line whose grandfather were personal bodyguard to the Tsar (how romanticly .

Slava Lennon.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 15, 2012, 12:36 a.m.    

The BBC is a British Government-funded information organization that has been criticized for its anti-Russian an anti-Ukrainian propaganda.

This disclaimer is present in the interest of maintaining a balance policy in what is an unprofessional bias demonstrated by Kyivpost's editors against Russia today. It bring Kyivpost, its editor's and journalist into disrepute and treats it's reads as idiots as if they are not capable of ascertaining the full extent of a media outlets bias in their reporting.

The same unprofessional policy applied against Russia Today should also be applied to the BBC and other outlets. Of KyivPost's owners of publishers do not support Russia Today's news source then STOP Publishing their syndicate stories, or is it a case that Kyivpost as suspected in in fact funded by the US government?

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous Jan. 15, 2012, 12:56 a.m.    

Why has comments critical of Leigh Turner's blog been removed. Is this censorship and denial of democratic free speech

If Mr Tuner wishes to cross the line from being a diplomat and become a political advocate interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation then he should be open and subjected to public review and criticism.

Leigh Turner has seriously compromised the professional standing and role of diplomatic services. If he feels the need to comment and criticize government policy, then he should do so via reports to the British Foreign Minister and not publish personal comments that may or may not reflect the views of the British Government. His role is to represent British policy not become a provocateur, In doing so he has seriously placed at risk Britain's diplomatic representation.

.

{# <-- parent id goes here
AL BALA Jan. 24, 2012, 11:24 p.m.    

Supreme Court upheld that the media is banned from writing about government officials - now and before the elections ? ? ? ? ?

http://tsn.ua/politika/zmi-zaboronili-pisati-pro-mayno-statki-ta-kohanciv-chinovnikiv.html

PS LES - PATHETIC CRIMINALS ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

PPS If you watch the video then you can see the outstanding SHAME on the faces of Constitutional Court &quot;justices&quot; - as the verdict is read !

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Read more:

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/politics/detail/121085/#ixzz1kPcdxJiy

{# <-- parent id goes here

KyivPost

© 1995–2014 Public Media

Web links to Kyiv Post material are allowed provided that they contain a URL hyperlink to the www.kyivpost.com material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. Otherwise, all materials contained on this site are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of Public Media at news@kyivpost.com
All information of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency placed on this web site is designed for internal use only. Its reproduction or distribution in any form is prohibited without a written permission of Interfax-Ukraine.