Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech has already addressed the OSCE representatives on freedom of media, members of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, in particular, its chairman David McAllister. And also to the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Matti Maasikas, members of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, President of the European Parliament David Maria Sassoli, Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Germany, Italy and Spain, etc.
Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech addresses the international organizations and social movements calling to protect Internet freedom, turn attention to the attempts of Ukrainian authorities to take control over the popular social networks and services.
On August 31 during the visit of President Volodymyr Zelensky to the United States, the First Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov at the meeting with Google Vice President Karan Bhatia wanted to transfer control over the content of Ukrainian YouTube Music and YouTube to some “Ukrainian editors.”
In addition, the Ukrainian government is more and more persistently demanding that Google and Youtube open local offices in Ukraine. The goal is the same – to moderate and control the content available for viewing by Ukrainian users through the government-controlled administrations of these social networks.
We believe that the desire of the Ukrainian authorities to control the content of the most popular social networks is another blatant attempt to restrict freedom of speech on the Internet. We ask the leading international organizations to use their authority and influence to stop this attempt at state censorship.
It is necessary to stop the total offensive on freedom of speech by the authoritarian regime of Zelensky.
After the extrajudicial reprisals against TV channels “112 Ukraine”, NewsOne і ZIK, usage of executive power without judicial supervision to “Pershiy Nezalezhniy” TV channel, підриву the rule of law by restricting access to “Strana.ua” and “Shaariy.net” agencies and sanctions against Ukrainian blogger Anatoliy Shariy – Ukrainian authorities decided to to get to YouTube social network.
The administration of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky chose to neglect the course of Ukraine to democratic values.
Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech considers such actions of the Ukrainian authorities as a gross violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens of Ukraine guaranteed to them by the Constitution.
It is our deep conviction that the Ukrainian authorities are guided solely by political considerations, which, to our deep sorrow, may lead to an increasing split in Ukrainian society at a time when the challenges the state is facing require its unity.
International organizations are also concerned about the state of democracy and freedom of speech. The destruction of independent media by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky was called censorship, unmotivated persecution and violation of human rights by the world community.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over sanctions imposed by the Ukrainian authorities in February that resulted in closure of “112 Ukraine”, NewsOne і ZIK TV channels and demands that the Ukrainian authorities resume broadcasting of illegally closed media. It is currently checking whether the new government’s sanctions against the blogger Anatoliy Shariy and “Strana.ua” online agency are in line with international human rights standards.
Voiced her concern at the imposition of sanctions by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine on a number of media outlets, recommending that each agency be thoroughly inspected before restrictions are imposed on them.
In addition, before Zelensky’s visit to the United States, president of Freedom House in a letter to Biden wrote about the extrajudicial reprisals against the media in Ukraine. In this letter, Michael J. Abramowitz expressed concern over the extrajudicial reprisals against Ukrainian media, which have recently been practiced by President Volodymyr Zelensky through the decisions of the National Security and Defense Council.
The resolution of the European Parliament states about ending politically motivated harassment of the media and guaranteeing respect for human rights and civil liberties.
Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech urges international organizations and social movements, which defend Internet freedom, to turn attention to the attempts of the Ukrainian authorities to take control over the popular social networks and services.
The total offensive on freedom of speech by the authoritarian regime of Zelensky must be stopped.
We hope that another violation of freedom of speech in Ukraine will not go unnoticed by your states and international organizations, where such incidents are impossible.
Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech in Ukraine