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Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech, journalists of illegally closed TV channels to hold protest near US Embassy on August 30 at 11:00

Source : 112 Ukraine

Representatives of the Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech and the journalist collectives will pass the joint statement to U.S. President Joe Biden through the US Embassy
10:13, 29 August 2021

112 Agency

Representatives of the Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech, journalists of the TV channels illicitly closed by authorities will hold the joint protest near the US Embassy in Kyiv on August 30 at 11:00.

The protest will gather the representatives of the Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech, as well as journalists of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK illegally closed by the NSDC decision, employees of Pershyi Nezalezhnyi TV channel that was cynically discontinued in an hour after the broadcasting by illicit actions of the SBU, the letter to the deputy head of the service, journalists of Strana.ua and sharij.net closed by illegal actions and others.

We invite all journalists who suffered from the illicit actions of the authorities to come on Monday, August 30, at 11:00 to the US Embassy in Ukraine that is situated at Sikorsky Street 4.

Representatives of the Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech and the journalist collectives will pass the joint statement to U.S. President Joe Biden through the US Embassy to make Biden understand during his meeting with Ukraine’s President Zelensky on August 31 with whom he holds talks – with a person who closed opposition mass media in the country.

Here is the full text of the appeal:

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.,

President of the United States of America

 

Dear President Biden!

Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech, staff of illegally closed by the decision of the National Security and Defense Council "112 Ukraine", "NewsOne" and "Zik" TV channels, as well as employees of "Pershiy Nezalezhniy" TV channel, the broadcast of which was cynically shut down an hour after its start by the criminal actions of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), namely, by the letter from the Deputy Chairman of the special service, the journalists of "Strana.ua" and "sharij.net" agencies, closed by the illegal imposition of sanctions, and journalists of other agencies, united to express to you their respect and address you with a kind request to turn your attention to the improper state of ensuring freedom of speech in Ukraine, which resulted in the illegal closure of a number of media in the country by the Ukrainian authorities.

In grave breach of basic principles of rule of law, the Ukrainian authorities have banned the broadcasting of four influential TV channels and a number of online media. Today, this decision is receiving increasingly sound condemnation on the part of respected international human rights watchdogs and news about the closure of the TV channels and online media have already been published in all the world's leading media.

Since the Ukrainian authorities ignore the opinion of the world journalistic community, specialized international organizations and well-known politicians and experts, we are asking you to convey our concerns over the blatant attack on the freedom of media in Ukraine during your meeting with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky scheduled for August 31, 2021.

We believe that the discussion of this issue will be an excellent demonstration that the protection of freedom of speech and the protection of human rights and freedoms is a fundamental value and a precondition for the creation of a healthy democratic society.

With that in mind, we are resolute to stress that further indifference on the part of the US government to systemic and comprehensive suppression of the freedom of press in Ukraine would make Washington an accomplice in those violations of basic political rights.

We would like to inform you in brief about the main circumstances of the closure of media in Ukraine:

In early February, three Ukrainian TV channels – "112 Ukraine", "NewsOne", and "ZiK" – were shut without any legal background. At the whim of President Zelensky's Office, almost 1,500 journalists were kicked out on the street. However, we did not give up and created a new TV channel – "Pershiy Nezalezhniy" ("The First Independent"), which united the staff of "112 Ukraine", "NewsOne", and "ZiK".

On February 26, the newly established TV channel launched its broadcasting, however, an hour later and under the pressure from the authorities, Ukrainian telecom providers were compelled to stop the satellite broadcasting of the channel, even despite the previously agreed arrangements. The TV channel did not survive a day, and again without any legal background, we were denied our right to work and deprived of the access to our audience.

Later, on August 20, similarly, the authorities blocked the work of two more popular in Ukraine online media "Strana.ua" and "sharij.net".

Ukrainian authorities have gone far beyond all reasonable bounds by violating legislation and international norms, and continue to purposefully destroy freedom of speech in the country.

We, as journalists, want to continue our job and convey the truth about what is happening in the country and beyond its borders. However, we were denied this legitimate right.

Thus, we urge you to respond to the present situation and to express your position concerning the events around our media.

Respectively submitted,
Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech,

Staff of illegally closed Ukrainian media.

"Pershiy Nezalezhniy"

"Strana.ua"

"Sharij.net"

"ZiK"

"NewsOne"

"112 Ukraine"

On February 2, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy 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.

Earlier, on February 20, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on sanctions against 8 individuals and 19 legal entities. Among them are three Ukrainian citizens - the politician Viktor Medvedchuk and his wife Oksana Marchenko and the common-law wife of the owner of the NewsOne, ZIK, and 112 Ukraine channels, Taras Kozak, Natalya Lavreniuk.

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.

During the last months, the world mass media, European politicians, and experts published over 70,000 materials dedicated to the persecution by Ukrainian authorities of the opposition and independent TV channels.

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