The European Union is assessing the consequences of the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to impose sanctions on the 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZiK TV channels. It is reported by Interfax-Ukraine.
"We are aware that on February 2, 2020, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine has decided to impose sanctions against Taras Kozak, the owner of three TV channels (112, NewsOne, and ZIK TV). We are assessing the implications of this decision. According to the Ukrainian authorities, this decision has been made on the basis of the anti-terrorist legislation and investigations finding that Mr. Kozak has received funds from non-government-controlled areas controlled by separatists," EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano told Interfax-Ukraine.
At the same time, he stressed that according to the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, the EU attaches the highest importance to the independence and freedom of media.
"The Ukrainian media landscape has been and continues to be affected by sustained pro-Russian disinformation campaigns. While Ukraine's efforts to protect its territorial integrity and national security, as well as to defend itself from information manipulation are legitimate, in particular given the scale of disinformation campaigns affecting Ukraine including from abroad, this should not come at the expense of freedom of media and must be done in full respect of fundamental rights and freedoms and following international standards," Stano said.
In addition, the representative of European diplomacy expressed his conviction that "any measures taken should be proportional to the aim."
"We are monitoring the case closely and will be in touch with Ukrainian authorities to receive more information. The EU will continue to engage with the Ukrainian authorities and share its experience in that regard," he said.
On February 2, Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on sanctions against 112 Ukraine, NewsONE, and ZiK TV channels. By this decree, he enforced the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on sanctions on the cancellation of the broadcasting licenses of the TV channels belonging to Taras Kozak (112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK). According to the decree that is eligible since the moment of signature, the TV channels faced sanctions that will be active for five years. These sanctions make broadcasting impossible.