We demand the withdrawal of the bill on censorship of scientific sources!

Author
Collective
Date
January 2, 2023

To: Mr Ruslan Stefanchuk, initiator of the bill n° 7633

On 1er December 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted in the first reading as a basis the draft law of Ukraine "On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine "On Prohibition of Use of Information Sources of the Aggressor State or the Occupying Power in Educational Programs, Scientific and Scientific-Technical Activities" (No. 7633). This bill includes a prohibition on the use of Russian-language sources of information of citizens of the aggressor state in educational, scientific and scientific research programs, regardless of their location and affiliation. The exceptions made for "critical analysis" of the aggressor state obviously provide for control by the state authorities of the content of publications, i.e. censorship.

This means a hindrance to the freedom of collection and dissemination of information, discrimination on the basis of language contrary to Articles 24 and 34 of the Ukrainian Constitution, as well as the introduction of censorship, which violates Article 15 of the Constitution and Article 13 "Freedom of Art and Science" of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

This bill not only undermines Ukraine's democratic choice, but is extremely harmful to education and research and should therefore be withdrawn immediately.

If this bill is passed, Ukraine will become almost the only country in the world where scientists will be required by law to violate integrity and remove references to sources (including seminal publications that are a scientific priority in the world) on the basis of language, citizenship of authors and location of scientific institutions.

This will not only complicate the life of Ukrainian scientists, but may make their work not meet international scientific standards - exclude them from the international scientific community, make it impossible to cooperate with many scientific institutions of the world (mainly in Europe and the USA), for which censorship is absolutely unacceptable, and often directly forbidden by the legislation of the respective countries, statutes of universities and public organizations.

The introduction of censorship of scientific sources will make it impossible to carry out scientific research of international standard in Ukraine. This could result in the destruction of scientific teams and the forced relocation of scientists abroad, and consequently a decrease in the quality, and soon the quantity, of scientific publications in Ukrainian.

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