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03 May 2022, 16:31

Three Verkhovna Rada Committees held meeting on countering Russian propaganda

On 28th April 2022, a joint meeting of the Committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Ukraine's Integration into the EU, on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, and on Humanitarian and Information Policy was held. During the meeting members of Parliament and representatives of media and public organizations fighting disinformation discussed Russia’s information threats and measures to combat Russian propaganda.

The Chair of the Committee on Ukraine's Integration into the EU noted that the current barbaric and bloody war waged by Russia in Ukraine is supported by propaganda distributed not only in Ukraine and Russia, but all over the world. “Unfortunately, we see that in some countries of the world the propaganda of the aggressor state is successful. We know that Russian propagandist outlets continue to operate in many countries. Russian state-owned channels are not banned and operate via satellite. Now we see a new trend. Former employees of Russian state-owned channels are now not only employed the world's respected media outlets, but are also rewarded, such as Marina Ovsyannikova,” Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze said.

Olexander Merezhko, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, believes that Russian propaganda media are complicit in crimes against humanity and genocide of Ukrainians. In addition, the Chairman of the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy, Mykyta Poturayev, is convinced that Russia should be isolated in the same way as the Soviet Union was once.

The participants noted that Russian propaganda is an integral part of the military machine that Russia uses as a psychological and information weapon against Ukraine and against the entire democratic world. In order to counter the disinformation threats from the aggressor state, the Verkhovna Rada Committees worked out and approved proposals addressed both to the authorities in Ukraine and to the parliaments of other countries, as well as to international organizations.

The following measures were approved:
•    to address the National Security and Defense Council, the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting on the need to immediately stop the activities of both central and regional media, which are controlled by Russian agents of influence and promote Russian narratives among the Ukrainian people;
•    to address the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on the importance of funding educational programs on media literacy, media hygiene and critical thinking in educational institutions supported by non-governmental organizations and Ukrainian media. To raise the issue of funding such programs through international financial assistance donors of Ukraine;
•    to address the Cabinet of Ministers to initiate, at the governmental level, international negotiations on the possibility of obtaining funding to record information crimes.

The Committees call on the Ministries of Foreign Affairs to forward their decisions to the parliaments of the EU and NATO member states, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe, NATO, the OSCE, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

In addition, the Committees should jointly develop a draft Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada on counteracting misinformation, propaganda, manipulation and information terrorism of the Russian Federation.

The Committees also approved appeals addressed to the national parliaments of the EU and NATO member states, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe, NATO, the OSCE, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. They called on democracies to ignore the Russian government's press tours in the occupied territories, which are aimed at justifying Russia’s crimes against civilians in Ukraine by fabricating facts, using fake evidence and fictitious witnesses.

The Committees called for tougher sanctions on Russian institutions involved in disinformation, propaganda, and manipulation of the media, and for sanctions to be imposed on those involved in development and distribution of manipulative news, as well as on members of their families.

They called for stopping the broadcasting of Russian TV channels via satellite systems and promoting Ukrainian broadcasters instead.