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CEDEM Hosts Forum on Online Free Speech and Government’s Role in Protecting It 

December 13The Center for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM), within the framework of the Safe and Responsible Internet project, held a Forum called “Key Challenges of Freedom of Speech on Internet: Ukrainian and Global Context.”

Thirty-three public officials, representatives of the private and public sector, lawyers and media experts discussed avenues of cooperation among the state, social media, businesses and the public in the context of ensuring freedom of speech on the internet, protecting personal data, and the correlation of user rights and EU regulation in these spheres.

In opening the Forum, Taras Shevchenko, the head of CEDEM, talked about the importance of developing recommendations for updating the media legislation of Ukraine on the basis of a dialogue among researchers, experts, practitioners, officials and public representatives. “After all, Ukraine, though being a young democracy, still remains one of the most free ones for online media in the world. It is good, but at the same time, we must ensure citizens’ rights to obtain truthful information and protect their personal data,” Shevchenko said.

The head of new media programs at Internews Ukraine, Vitaliy Moroz, discussed the importance of using the correct terminology during the discourse to avoid adding a negative connotation to the notion of regulation. He also presented a new expert guide called “Green Book. Legal Relations on Internet.”

Kateryna Kruk, manager of Facebook public policy in Ukraine, talked about current policies of the internet giants with respect to regulation. She said Facebook is not an online media company but rather a technical platform through which on a monthly basis three billion users transmit video, photo and text. She said Facebook representatives are ready for dialogue with the authorities, the public and businesses, but they cannot take the role of editor.

More on CEDEM’s website in Ukrainian.