Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech appeals to the leaders of European counties, the USA, international organizations and all relevant institutions to raise concerns over the violation of the foundations of democracy and freedom of speech in Ukraine.
In the state for which we fought, and which claims the role of a democratic model of government, a blatant precedent of closing the media extrajudicially has been set, in other words, – it was against the law.
Viewers and readers were denied access to 112 Ukraine, Zik, NewsOne, KRT, Strana.ua and Shariy.net. This was done for political reasons, not in accordance with the law. Without trial, the authorities aired the First Independent TV channel, which brought together journalists from three closed channels, and stopped broadcasting an hour after the broadcast began.
However, now in Ukraine a total control is being established depriving the viewers of a chance to hear different points of view, raise social awareness, receive information about the real state of the economy, etc.
The desire to fight the media is nothing but the desire of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to strengthen his power, and he did it at the expense of the country’s highest-rated media.
Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech has already sent letters to more than 200 recipients, including: Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of the G7 countries, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, UN Secretary General, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Members of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs, the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Members of the Parliamentary Committee of the EU-Ukraine Association, the President of the European Parliament and others.
Read the full text of the appeal:
On September 10, staff of the relevant media handed over an open letter to European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy from 2010 to 2014 Stefan Füle and ex-President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski about the serious threat to freedom of information in Ukraine and the introduction of total censorship.
During the rally, they were holding posters with the words: "Mr. Kwasniewski, inform European politicians about violations of freedom of speech in Ukraine", "Pershiy Nezalezhniy, 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and Zik were illegally closed by the authorities - Zelensky is destroying freedom of speech in Ukraine","Mr. Fule, tell Zelensky to comply with the Constitution of Ukraine, which guarantees freedom of speech (Article 34)."
Earlier, the journalists of illegally closed media appealed to the UN concerning the persecution of mass media by Ukrainian authorities. The staff of the illegally closed by the Ukrainian authorities TV channels and websites have appealed to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights with the request to pay attention to the problem of the elimination of freedom of speech in Ukraine.
In late August, the journalists of the illegally closed 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZiK TV channels, Pershiy Nezalezhniy, KRT, representatives of Strana.ua and Sharij.net held a mass rally and handed over a letter about illegal actions of the Ukrainian authorities against media representatives to the U.S. Embassy. They also called on U.S. President Joe Biden to raise the problem of Zelensky's destruction of freedom of speech in Ukraine.
Earlier, hundreds of the journalists of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK came to UN Office in Ukraine to show gratitude for the report declaring the closure of TV channels illegal.
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.
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.
Over the past four months, the world media, European politicians, and experts have published more than 80,000 materials on the persecution of the opposition and independent TV channels by the Ukrainian authorities.