Opposition Platform - For Life party turned with an open address to EU Delegation and Ambassadors of EU Member States to Ukraine regarding the illegal closure of the 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK TV channels and sanctions against the Chairman of the Political Council of the Opposition party and MP Viktor Medvedchuk, his party colleague Taras Kozak, as well as their wives Oksana Marchenko and Natalia Lavreniuk.
Here is a full text of the letter:
Under Association Agreement with the European Union, Ukraine committed to respect freedom of expression and freedom of press. The visit of President Michel to Kyiv is a good chance to verify to what extent Ukrainian government lives up to those commitments.
Official Kyiv continues to attack freedom of speech. Disregarding the law, Ukrainian government is polishing the scheme of blatant interference in the activities of media and attacks on unwanted ones. After they banned three independent TV channels, after they blocked telegram channels, 426 (!) websites have become victims of ‘massacre’. These include the largest all-Ukrainian and regional information websites, the popular all over the world web site “Live Journal”, well-known foreign media resources. Some representatives of the government are trying to present this as an annoying misunderstanding, but amidst the illegal closure of the 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and Zik TV channels, the imposition of illegal sanctions against MPs of Ukraine Viktor Medvedchuk and Taras Kozak, as well as their family members, conversations about an accident look ridiculous and unconvincing.
The authorities have followed the already tried and tested way of blocking telegram channels: the court ruled a decision “to seize intellectual property rights that arise from Internet users when using web resources”, which actually means the obligation for providers to close access to hundreds of websites.
Such a demonstrative and unprecedented attack on freedom of speech testifies to only one thing – the government has confirmed its intention to continue trampling on basic democratic values. The fight against dissenting media and freedom of speech on the part of the official Kyiv will continue. The authorities have declared war on everyone who does not agree with the official course, with the policy of the ruling political force. Dissenters are to be suppressed by all means available to the authorities, without regard to the lawfulness of such actions, and this is an outrageous decision, without any doubt, testing the technology, testing the reaction of society, intimidating independent media, which is now elevated to the rank of state policy in Ukraine. Tomorrow the same fate may befall any of the publications, TV channels or Internet resources.
The Opposition Platform - For Life party strongly condemns the functioning of the state punitive machine. We call on civil society to come out as a united front in defense of freedom of speech, in defense of the right of Ukrainians to access objective, comprehensive information. We resolutely condemn the government’s pressure on the media and demand to immediately abandon the practice of shutting the mouth of all those who have the courage to speak out against the lawlessness in the country.
We kindly ask you to discuss these regretful developments with Ukrainian government, to raise the issue of freedom of press in Ukraine at the next summit of European Council and to consider the possibility to impose the EU restrictive measures against those in Ukraine who are guilty of crimes against the journalists and suppression of the independent media.
Should the leadership of the EU continue to pretend that it does not notice the significant restriction of freedoms and breaches of human rights in Ukraine, it will make the block partner in those crimes rather than partner in defense of rule of law and democracy as millions of Ukrainians used to believe. No geopolitical considerations can justify the indifference to evident authoritarian tendencies in Ukraine.
Opposition Platform - For Life political party