The Council of Europe recommended the journalists of the illegally closed Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in connection with the restriction of freedom of speech in Ukraine. The TV channel received the letter from the Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law.
The Directorate thanked for informing about the termination of broadcasting of the TV channel and assured that they are closely following the events related to the restriction of freedom of speech in Ukraine.
"The Council of Europe considers media freedom and freedom of expression important element of democratic societies and essential to the protection of human right and fundamental freedoms. We are closely following the developments in Ukraine concerning media freedom," Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law Christos Giakoumopulos noted.
The European organization advised the journalists were to file a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in connection with a violation of Article 10 of the ECHR.
"Freedom of expression is enshrined in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). If you consider that the situation you describe in your letter is a breach of Article 10 of the ECHR, you may bring an application before the European Court for Human Rights after fulfilling the procedural admissibility requirements as set out in Article 35 of the ECHR, including the exhaustion of available effective domestic remedies. In view of your letter, you may consider making use of the remedies offered by the judicial system in Ukraine in order to address the issues raised by the discontinuation of broadcasting of the "Pershiy Nezalezhniy" TV channel," the Directorate
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.