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Journalists of illegally closed channels told G20 summit participants on Ukrainian authorities' pressure on freedom of speech

Source : 112 Ukraine

Media workers covering the meeting of the world leaders in Rome expressed concern about the situation with censorship in Ukraine and supported the media
19:42, 31 October 2021

112 Agency

Workers of the illegally closed TV channels 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, Pershyi Nezalezhnyi and ZIK, and the online agencies Strana.ua and Shary.net, initiated a discussion of the Ukrainian authorities' pressure on freedom of speech at the G20 summit.

Media workers covering the meeting of the world leaders in Rome expressed concern about the situation with censorship in Ukraine and supported the media.

The journalist of the Australian TV channel 9 News Christopher Ullman emphasized that the world community is in solidarity with Ukrainian journalists.

“We sympathize with all of our colleagues suffering from freedom of speech oppression who cannot be told the truth. We are lucky in Australia that we don’t have that. We know that some journalists are being attacked, we have heard about what is happening in your country. What can I tell you, we are in solidarity with journalists all over the world who are just trying to do their job. In some countries, you have to be brave to do it," Ullman said.

"Freedom of speech is fundamental for the entire modern world, for democracy around the world. It is very important that independent media can do their job. Keep fighting, thank you for your work here," added SkyNews journalist Marko.

Earlier, workers of the illegally closed channels 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK, and the online agencies Strana.ua and Shary.net, initiated a discussion of the Ukrainian authorities' pressure on freedom of speech at the G20 summit. The relevant letter was sent by journalists to the participants of the event.

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.

Former owner of the Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel Roman Lyubytsky spread a false statement that he had nothing to do with the sale of the TV channel to the Novyny media holding. Lyubytsky's statement is not true, as his authorized representative acted on his behalf, and Lyubytsky himself received payment for the sale of the TV channel.

On August 20, the sanctions were imposed on the editor-in-chief of the Internet portal Strana.ua Igor Guzhva, the publishing companies of Strana.ua, blogger and journalist Anatoly Shariy and his wife Olga. As a result, Strana.ua and Shariy.net were blocked.

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.

In connection with the illegal actions of the authorities, the journalists appealed to the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken regarding the introduction of total censorship and a serious threat to freedom of information in Ukraine, handed over an open letter to European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy from 2010 to 2014 Stefan Füle and ex-President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression Irene Khan, and the Spokesperson of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Marta Hurtado. And the Council of Europe recommended journalists of illegally closed Pershiy Nezalezhniy channel to appeal to ECHR.

At the beginning of September, the journalists of the illegally closed TV channels were visited by the Secretary of the Senator of France, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and the Armed Forces of the French Senate, member of NATO PA and member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Joël Guerriau and member of French Senate, member of the commission of Foreign Affairs and Defense Forces Nathalie Goulet. The senator said that their visit have started with the visit of the Embassy of France in Ukraine and meeting with the ambassador, during which, the diplomats were informed by the concern of the Union of Journalists of France and the OSCE about the situation with freedom of speech in Ukraine.

In addition, the journalists of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK TV channels, illegally closed by the Ukrainian authorities, Pershiy Nezalezhniy, closed by a letter from the Deputy Chairman of the Security Service without a trial, as well as Strana.ua and Shariy.net outlets came to the YES Brainstorming conference, which started on September 10 in Kyiv, to talk about the situation with freedom of speech in Ukraine.

The journalists of the closed media sent a letter to the PACE delegates, where they told about the pressure of the authorities on the independent media in Ukraine and asked for their assessment. They were also supported by the Charity Foundation for the Protection of Freedom of Speech in Ukraine, whose Chairperson sent a letter to US President Joe Biden in connection with the government's persecution of independent media in Ukraine.

Over the past four months, the world media, European politicians, and experts have published more than 96,900 materials on the persecution of the opposition and independent TV channels by the Ukrainian authorities.

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