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French lawyer: Closure of TV channels by Ukrainian authorities is illegal and does not comply with norms of democratic society

Author : Alexis Guedj

Source : 112 Ukraine

Alexis Guedj a French lawyer and teacher of communication law at CELSA analyzed the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to close the news TV channels 112 Ukraine, ZIK and NewsOne, and termination of Pershiy Nezalezhniy broadcasting
14:33, 22 October 2021

Alexis Guedj
Open source

Alexis Guedj a French lawyer and teacher of communication law at CELSA analyzed the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to close the news TV channels 112 Ukraine, ZIK and NewsOne, and termination of Pershiy Nezalezhniy broadcasting. He announced his conclusions during a press conference organized by the Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech, at which an international legal report was presented on the closure of television channels without judicial procedure.

I was asked to analyze the decision of the Ukrainian authorities on the closure of the news TV channels 112 Ukraine, ZIK and NewsOne, as well as the termination of broadcasting of Pershiy Nezalezhniy. This case should be considered, in particular, in the context of Ukraine's implementation of a policy aimed at fighting the opposition media.

Broadcasting of 112 Ukraine, ZIK and NewsOne was terminated by a decree of the President of Ukraine, and later, restrictive measures were imposed on Pershiy Nezalezhniy. Restrictive measures were applied to the mentioned media by the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. The companies have appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, but the petition is still pending and has no final ruling. The consideration procedure was blocked. Along with the lawsuits in Ukrainian courts, the TV companies want to appeal to international bodies.

There are many arguments that confirm the violation of the rights and freedoms of these channels.

First of all, we recommend that TV channels report a gross violation of paragraph 1 of Art. 6 of the Convention on Human Rights. Ukrainian courts approached by company representatives, including the Supreme Court and the Kyiv District Administrative Court, should be prosecuted for denial of justice.

Secondly, we recommend that TV channels report violations of Art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The decree of the President of Ukraine against three TV channels, and actions of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine aimed at closing Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel are interference with freedom of information. This interference is not legal and does not comply with the norms of a democratic society.

Thirdly, we recommend that companies report violation of Art. 1 of Protocol 1 to the ECHR. The decree of the President of Ukraine on the closure of TV channels is interference with property rights.

Fourthly, we recommend that companies report violation of Art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The decree of the President of Ukraine on sanctions and TV channels, as well as the actions of the SBU to terminate broadcasting of one of the channels, discriminate against TV companies on the basis of their opinions, and call them pro-Russian. This discrimination does not meet the requirements of legality and proportionality.

Finally, I would like to remind you that we believe that the appeals of TV channels to the ECHR are acceptable, and we also recommend informing international journalistic organizations about cases of violation of freedom of speech in Ukraine and sanctions of the Ukrainian authorities against TV channels.

Alexis Guedj

Earlier, the leading international organizations, known politicians and experts condemned the illegal closing of opposition TV channels in Ukraine. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, OSCE, Freedom House, and PACE voiced their protest against such a decision of the Ukrainian authorities. News about the closure of our TV channels was published by all the world's leading media. You can read in detail about the international reaction HERE.

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