Right to Information Free of Religious Offense Recognized for the Church

28 December 2009, 10:37 | Jurisprudence | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Petriv.jpgKYIV — The Kyiv Court recognized the right of the church and believers to an information space free of material that disrespects its honor, dignity, and religious sentiments.  The panel of Judges of the Administrative Circuit Court of Kyiv on December 25, 2009, dismissed the claim (case №3712) of Free Media Ukraine GMBH Ltd against the National Expert Committee on Protection of Public Moral. The Patriarchal Curia Center of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) entered the matter as a third party claiming no independent demands regarding the claim.

The UGCC informed the court about its violated right to an information space free of material disrespecting its honor and dignity, offending religious sentiments of believing citizens, and which constitutes a threat to the physical, intellectual, and moral-psychological state of the population. Using its constitutional right the church asked for judicial protection.

Free Media Ukraine GMBH Ltd submitted to the court a claim for the annulment of Decision 4 of the National Expert Committee on Protection of Public Moral of October 23, 2008. The matter is that in the process of monitoring the compliance of periodicals to the effective legislation on protection of public moral, the committee by its decision number 4 of October 23, 2008, resolved to recognize photo images posted in numbers 194 (682) of 01.09.2008 and 104 (592) of 14.05.2008 of the Blik newspaper as material of erotic character, and in number 104 (592) of 14.05.2008 on page 10 as material of pornographic character, and in number 194 (682) of 01.09.2008 on page 16 as material demonstrating disrespect for religious shrines and offending the religious sentiments of believers.

As for demonstrating disrespect for religious shrines and offending religious sentiments of believers is concerned, the case involved an image of a green frog crucified on a cross, posted in number 194 (682) on page 16, which the claimant persistently presented as a classical peice of art as it was exhibited in a museum of an Italian town of Bolzano.  

According to the press service of the UGCC, when Pope Benedict XVI learned about this “masterpiece” of art, he said in a letter to the head of the local government Franz Pal that these images “inflicted pain on religious sentiments of many people who see the cross as the symbol of love for God and our salvation, which deserves recognition and religious devotion.”  The Secretariat of the All Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations also expressed its indignation at such sacrilege of religious symbols at one of its sessions.

However, the management of the Free Media Ukraine GMBH Ltd considered the accusations of distribution of photos of the mentioned character ungrounded and sued the committee.

“The decision of the court in this matter, which has become publically known, showed that Ukraine does have unbiased justice, as the whole process was closely “attended” by the mass media (as well as all the present activities of the National Expert Committee on Protection of Public Moral) and instilled hope that in the future by our joint efforts we all will be able to protect the spiritual and moral basis of our Ukrainian society from the destructive influence of immorality, lack of culture, non-moderate consumerism, and hedonism,” commented protopriest Mykola Petriv, the representative of the Patriarcha Curia of the UGCC in court on its decision.

According to the priest, it is symbolic that the decision of the court was passed on December 25 when four fifths of the Christian world celebrates the day of Birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Система Orphus
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