Hundreds of journalists from TV channels closed by President Zelensky's illegal decree will come to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine on Friday, August 27 at 11:00 a.m. to turn the White House's attention to the situation with freedom of speech in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian authorities’ repression against the opposition media has reached its historic peak. Initially, 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK, which were leaders in broadcasting among news channels, were illegally shut down. Authorities went even further - now they have closed Strana.ua" sharij.net, and NASH TV channel is under the threat of closure. And no one knows which TV channel will be the next to fall under fictitious sanctions or which website will be closed next manually and after a call from the Office of the President.
This situation is an authorities’ arbitrariness, lawlessness, an attack on freedom of speech and the actual introduction of censorship in the country.
The journalists have written a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden and will pass it on through the U.S. Embassy so that on August 31, during a meeting with Ukrainian President Zelensky, Biden understands who he is negotiating with - the man who shut down opposition media in his country.
Earlier, on August 23, hundreds of journalists of illegally closed channels held rally demanding to protect freedom of speech in Ukraine. Journalists planned to hold a rally in front of the National Opera House, where participants of the Crimean Platform gathered, but they were not allowed by the police. The border of law enforcers moved together with participants of the protest rally. And at the exits from the Kyiv metro, people were required to show their identity documents.
The journalists wanted to appeal to world leaders to help stop the assassination of freedom of speech in Ukraine, which is taking place today under the leadership of President Volodymyr Zelensky and his team. The journalists of the illegally closed TV channels 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, Zik, and Pershiy Nezalezhniy attended the rally. They defend not only their right to broadcast, but also of all illegally closed agencies and those that have come under sanctions, including NASH TV channel, Strana.ua, sharij.net, and many others.
Protesters held posters: "Zelensky is a dictator. We demand US sanctions for destroying freedom of speech in Ukraine," "Zelensky is the enemy of freedom of speech," "Zelensky is a dictator. He shuts down media and deprives journalists of jobs," "Zelensky is a dictator. We stand for European sanctions for abolition of the freedom of speech in Ukraine!," "Zelensky is an enemy of free speech!," "Closing TV channels highly critical of authorities is a dictatorship!"
Earlier, 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK journalists urged Angela Merkel to turn attention to the freedom of speech in Ukraine and influence the Ukrainian authorities.
In addition, the journalists of illegally closed TV channels addressed the EU Council President Charles Michel and to the leaders of the European Union, the heads of the governing bodies of the EU and relevant international organizations in connection with the pressure on freedom of speech in Ukraine.
MEPs also wrote a letter to Josep Borrell on Ukraine's violation of principles of freedom of speech and laws due to blocking of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK TV channels.
The report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights "Update on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine" stated that the decision to impose sanctions against Taras Kozak, MP from the Opposition Platform - For Life, and close 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK TV channels contradicts international human rights standards as it lacks justification of its necessity and proportionality, and was not taken by an independent authority.