Виступ делегації України на засіданні Четвертого комітету ГА ООН (питання, що стосуються інформації)

Виступ делегації України на засіданні Четвертого комітету ГА ООН (питання, що стосуються інформації)

Mr. Chairman,

Ukraine aligns with the statement of the European Union that was delivered on the 18th of October.

At the outset, I would like to congratulate Madame Alison Smale for assuming duties of Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. The Ukrainian delegation is ready to work closely with you on the questions related to information.

Our big appreciation also goes to Mr. Maher Nasser for being at the helm of the DPI as acting USG and for introducing the Secretary-General’s report.

Mr. Chairman,

Ukraine welcomes the efforts of the DPI in promoting multilingualism across various offline and online platforms. In particular, we recognize the work done to increase the amount of multilingual content online and to produce new digital tools designed to make UN-related information more accessible and up-to- date. Features contained in the new web-site of Media and Accreditation Unit were very useful during this year’s high-level week.

My delegations is also pleased to note the focus on effective social media strategies enabling the UN to keep up with the latest trends in global information and to facilitate the work with various audiences, including youth. I particularly refer to the new audio content on SoundCloud and Video Clip platforms.

We also welcome the update of the UN website which is an important web source for the public. At the same time, we noted that many websites of UN committees, peacekeeping missions and subsidiary bodies still remain out of date and should be modernized.

The UN news center and UN Radio are seen as reliable information sources in Ukraine. We encourage UN news staff to continue to focus more on analysis and interviews with UN officials.

Mr. Chairman,

We cannot but emphasize the critical importance of free media for the development of a democratic, pluralistic and prosperous society.

Ukraine is fully dedicated to implementation of respective commitments and takes consistent steps to improve the environment for free media. Let me mention, in particular, the transformation of the country’s state radio and television companies into a public broadcaster, reduction of state influence in the print sector through launching privatization of hundreds of print outlets, many of them regional and municipal newspapers, enactment of legislation on disclosure of identities of media owners. Additional legislative measures have been taken to strengthen the safety of journalists and remove impediments in their work.

In this light, we are pleased to note that in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, published in April this year by Reporters without Borders, Ukraine for a consecutive year again showed progress, this time by 5 notches compared to 2016 report. As the Reporters without Borders point out, “since the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, the Ukrainian authorities have adopted a number of reforms, including media ownership transparency and access to state-held information. This independent assessment marks important progress already achieved by Ukraine and also serves as an incentive to continue focused efforts in enhancing the media freedom in my country.

However, there are two parts of Ukraine that experience severe restrictions on media freedom and clamp-down on free journalism, including harassment and violence against journalists. These parts are the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and certain areas of Donbas and Luhansk regions, temporarily occupied by Russia and Russia-backed armed formations. Systematic and massive abuses of the fundamental human rights and freedoms in these areas are concealed from the international community by deliberate policies aimed at intimidating and terminating the activities of independent mass-media and journalists. The journalists, who dare to report differently from than the position of the Russian occupation authorities, are harassed, detained, sentenced and even banned from profession. The latter happened, for instance, with Crimean journalist Mykola Semena, who received in September a suspended prison sentence for a period of two-and-a-half years and a three-year ban on conducting journalistic work under trumped-up charges. We deem it essential therefore to maintain the issues related to media freedom violations in Russia-occupied territories of Ukraine in the focus of the international community and to promptly respond to all attacks against free media.

We also condemn Russia’s brutal persecution of a Ukrainian journalist — Roman Sushchenko — in Moscow as he has been placed behind bars under fabricated charges. We demand from Russia Mr. Sushchenko’s immediate release.

More generally, we remain deeply concerned about a massive campaign of propaganda and incitement of hatred against Ukraine and Ukrainians, perpetrated by Russia’s state-owned media and public figures, which has played a significant role in triggering and fuelling Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the conflict in Donbas. While significantly reducing the space for independent and pluralistic media, the Russian authorities strengthened the grip over state-owned media transforming them into powerful instruments of state-driven propaganda producing fake news.

Mr. Chairman,

It has become clear that such a hybrid war against Ukraine involving state-controlled media is a direct threat to United Nations values. The Committee and other United Nations bodies should rapidly react to all such attempts to falsify information and to use it as a tool for fuelling regional conflicts.

My government continues to believe that the international community should redouble its efforts in identifying best practices and tools to deal with this global threat. We are convinced that information security is a key element in every national security system, and the United Nations should become a beacon for it by identifying and holding to account those who engage in propaganda wars.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.