Developing the draft bill, the government proceeded from the fact that the given commission duplicates the functions of the Culture Ministry, State committee on TV and radio broadcast and National council of Ukraine on TV and radio broadcast on observance of legislation on protection of public morality.
As a reminder, the government attempted twice to liquidate the commission - in May of 2011 and July of 2012, but the MPs failed to pass the draft bills.
So, does Ukraine need this commission, and what if not this body should control the morality of Ukrainians? To answer these questions ForUm has asked MPs, sociologists, political scientists, journalists, philosophers and members of this very commission.
Evhen Golovakha, deputy director of the Institute of sociology:
- Sometimes it happens that the society faces situations, threatening public morality. But such situations must be controlled and followed by public organizations, which may appeal to court. As for the state control, in my opinion, there should not be any, thus I support the liquidation of the National commission.
Olga Herasymiuk, journalist:
- I have not studied this draft bill yet, but I agree with the idea of liquidation of this commission. The fact is that apart from two scandals, involving banned cartoons and odious statements on this issue, we have not seen any other results of work of this commission. I don't quite understand why these people decide what TV shows and cartoons Ukrainians should or should not watch.
Vasyl Lazoryshynets, cardiac surgeon, member of the National expert commission on protection of public morality:
- The commission must exist, otherwise we won't be able to speak about principles, morality and ethics in the state. I believe that reasonable people in the parliament understand this. Similar commissions exist on other countries; they just have a different name.
If there is no control and reaction to certain events (and some of those we considered were really awful), there will be no morality and ethics in the country. The state cannot exists without such notions.
Yegor Benkendorf, director general of the First national channel:
- I think this initiative is logical and correct. There are other agencies in Ukraine, doing the same job. Besides, the issue of public morality should not be limited to the existence or liquidation of the National commission. As of today, the majority of players on this market stand against this commission, and there are grounds for such attitude.
Volodymyr Yavoryvski, MP, member of the parliamentary committee on culture and spirituality:
- I've always stood for liquidations of this organization. In my opinion, it is a soviet rudiment. To explain why I think like this, I want to cite an example. The late writer Oles Ulyanenko wrote a novel "The woman of his dreams", in which the author sometimes touched brutal subjects. Not everything was in white gloves, but that is how the writer saw our life. Nobody says that his book must be studied in schools. Such novels and subjects described in them have the right for existence. However, the National commission banned it as amoral. It cost me great difficulty to make this book published. As you can see, it has not made Ukrainians amoral.
Myroslav Popovych, director of Institute of philosophy, member of the National expert commission on protection of public morality:
- There are certain disagreements between the Justice Ministry and National commission, but I've never heard solid grounds for liquidation. I've been working in the commission for many years, and I have not been paid for my work. However, I've always known that this organization is useful. The commission has been working very professionally, and its liquidation (if it happens) will be a tragedy for me.
Serhiy Taran, political scientist, director of the International institute of democracies:
- To determine what is moral and what is not is the exclusive right of the society, not the state. When state agencies start to control morality, it results into censorship and imposing of certain standards on people. It is never good. That's why the works of the commission rises so many questions. The only question I have in this respect is not why don't they liquidate the commission, but why do they do it so late.
Iryna Bekeshkina, director of the fund "Democratic initiatives":
- For every violation of the law there is a code - Criminal Code, Administrative Code. As for morality, there can be no laws. Amoral deeds must face public disapproval, statements of men of weight.
Moreover, the National commission does not have real authorities to influence something. In this respect, its very existence is doubtful.
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