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Another act of aggression against independent media in Ukraine: instead of developing and supporting independent TV channels, state regulator continues politically motivated repressions against them

Source : 112 Ukraine

The National TV Council that Pershiy Nezalezhniy was deprived of broadcast without a trial on the basis of an illegal letter from the Deputy Chairman of the SBU
17:25, 16 September 2021

Pershiy Nezalezhniy
Pershiy Nezalezhniy

Today, on September 16, it became known that the Security Service of Ukraine appealed to the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine with a demand to appoint an unscheduled inspection of Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel according to some "information" from the SBU.

We would like to remind the National TV Council that Pershiy Nezalezhniy was deprived of broadcast without a trial on the basis of an illegal letter from the Deputy Chairman of the SBU.

While the entire civilized world opposes the harsh censorship of President Zelensky, he continues the practice of politically motivated repression against independent media. The UN in the report of its Monitoring Mission on Human Rights emphasizes that the closure of 112 Ukraine, Newsone and Zik TV channels contradicts international standards in the field of human rights and demand to unblock the channels. The Council of Europe recommends that the journalists of Pershiy Nezalezhniy channel, which was illegally closed by the letter, without a trial, should appeal to the ECHR over the restriction of freedom of speech in Ukraine. French senators were also critical of the closure of TV channels, noting that political motives should not be the basis for the termination of media activities, and also appealed to the PACE and OSCE because of the violation of freedom of speech in Ukraine.

But the authorities cannot stop, ordering for more and more inspections and shutting down independent media one after another.

On February 2, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on the imposition of sanctions against 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK TV channels. According to the decree, which came into force from the moment of signing, sanctions were applied to TV channels for five years. This provides for blocking the broadcasting of all three TV channels.

On February 26, journalists of the TV channels illegally closed by President Volodymyr Zelensky united and created a new TV channel - Pershiy Nezalezhniy. The founders of the new media are a group of journalists who previously worked on the 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK channels. However, within an hour after the start of broadcasting, Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel was illegally turned off under pressure from the authorities.

On August 20, the sanctions were imposed on the editor-in-chief of the Internet portal Strana.ua Igor Guzhva, the publishing companies of Strana.ua, blogger and journalist Anatoly Shariy and his wife Olga. As a result, Strana.ua and Shariy.net were blocked.

Leading European politicians, international and Ukrainian experts and the world media criticized Zelensky's decree on the closure of the TV channels 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK.

Due to illegal actions of the authorities, the journalists appealed to the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken regarding the introduction of total censorship and a serious threat to freedom of information in Ukraine,sent open letters to European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy from 2010 to 2014 Stefan Füle and ex-President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski, wrote an open letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression Irene Khan, and the Spokesperson of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Marta Hurtado. And the Council of Europe recommended the journalists of illegally closed Pershiy Nezalezhniy channel to appeal to the ECHR over the restriction of freedom of speech in Ukraine.

Also, teams of media illegally closed by the Ukrainian authorities in the person of President Volodymyr Zelensky met with the Secretary of the Senate, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces Joël Guerriau, and the Vice-President of the Committee on Constitutional Laws, Legislation, Universal Suffrage, Rules and General Administration (LOISa) of the French Senate Nathalie Goulet and informed the senators about the catastrophic situation with freedom of speech in Ukraine.

In addition, the journalists of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK TV channels, illegally closed by the Ukrainian authorities, Pershiy Nezalezhniy, closed by a letter from the Deputy Chairman of the Security Service without a trial, as well as Strana.ua and Shariy.net outlets came to the YES Brainstorming conference, which started on September 10 in Kyiv, to talk about the situation with freedom of speech in Ukraine. 

Over the past four months, the world media, European politicians, and experts have published more than 82,500 materials on the persecution of the opposition and independent TV channels by the Ukrainian authorities.

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