Authorities are once again putting pressure on journalists of Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel. Representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine demanded that the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting conduct an unscheduled inspection of the TV channel due to the allegedly non-transparent ownership structure. The National TV Council obediently drew an inspection report in which it recognized the TV channel's ownership structure as "opaque." This channel is threatened with further sanctions.
It is no secret that President's Office demands that the National TV Council, which is under its control, close the channel immediately. However, the regulator cannot even formally issue any warnings to the Pershiy Nezalezhniy regarding on-air activities, as the channel was cynically and illegally disconnected from broadcast upon an illegal letter from the SBU and the National TV Council. Now, these bodies have gone even further and are making their illegal claims against the channel's allegedly "opaque" ownership structure.
Earlier, it was reported that the owner of 60% of the channel is an MP and Chairman of the Committee on Freedom of Speech Nestor Shufrych, and another 40% belong to the team of journalists of the channel.
Earlier, Pershiy Nezalezhniy was created by journalists of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK TV channels which were illegally closed by the authorities. The channel was on air for 1 hour, after which it was disconnected from the broadcast by an illegal, cynical letter from the SBU Deputy Chairman and continued to broadcast on YouTube, where it became popular among the audience. This was apparent after 112 Ukraine TV channel received Gold Creator Award (over 1 million subscribers) from YouTube and other channels that broadcast Pershiy Nezalezhniy program received Silver Creator Awards (over 100,000 subscribers).
The reason for this is the channel's position on the objective coverage of government activities. We also cover the news about offshore accounts of Volodymyr Zelensky, the beating of journalists by Zelensky's team representative - Metsger, the Chairman of Supervisory Board of Ukreximbank, absence of peace in Donbas, blockade of the process of release of the detainees by the government and the catastrophic gas prices situation.
We consider the actions of the SBU and the National TV Council as another cynical and illegal attack on freedom of speech in Ukraine, and we will inform relevant organizations, journalists' organizations, UN monitoring committees, Freedom House, European structures, the OSCE and others.
The situation with violations of freedom of speech in Ukraine has been criticized by all leading international organizations dealing with freedom of speech and human rights. In recent months alone, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, PACE Rapporteur on Media Freedom and Protection of Journalists, President of Freedom House, and others have expressed their positions. Instead, the authorities continue to put pressure on the media, and no common sense or law stops them.
This is how a dictatorship is born.