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PACE President Rik Daems receives letter from journalists of illegally closed media about pressure on freedom of speech in Ukraine

Source : 112 Ukraine

During the session in Strasbourg, Pershiy Nezalezhniy journalists appealed to the PACE President asking to give an assessment of the illegal blocking of independent media
17:02, 30 September 2021

PACE President Rik Daems
Open source

Employees of the illegally closed media passed a letter to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Rik Daems regading the pressure on freedom of speech in Ukraine, Pershiy Nezalezhniy reports.  

During the session in Strasbourg, Pershiy Nezalezhniy journalists appealed to the PACE President with a request to give an assessment of the illegal blocking of independent media. 

PACE President Rik Daems
Pershiy Nezalezhniy

The letter to Daems states that the Ukrainian authorities in gross violation of the rule of law extrajudicially banned the broadcasting of three leading news channels - 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK.

Later, by order of the Deputy Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), it blocked the Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel an hour after broadcasting started. The authorities also stopped the work of Strana.ua and Shariy.net agencies due to the illegal imposition of sanctions.

In addition, the workers of the closed by Zelensky media also reminded of the actions of the nationalists against them: attacks on journalists, threats of physical violence, and shelling of 112 Ukraine TV channel's building from a grenade launcher.

PACE President Rik Daems
Pershiy Nezalezhniy

Earlier, on Monday, October 27, a regular session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe started. The journalists of Pershiy Nezalezhniy worked at the site and informed its participants about the illegal actions of the Ukrainian authorities against independent media, such as 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK, Pershiy Nezalezhniy, as well as Strana.uа and Shariy.net agencies.

On September 2, Pechersk District Court ruled to extend house arrest for Medvedchuk for 2 months, untill October 31.

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.

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.

On May 13, Kyiv court chose the restriction measure for Viktor Medvedchuk, the opposition MP and Chairman of the Political Council of Opposition Platform - For Life party. On July 9, the court extended the house arrest of Viktor Medvedchuk until September 7. The lawyers of the politician stated about the recusal of the judge Serhiy Vovk right after the end of the court session. However, the court declined the appeal on recusal of the judge and prosecutor. On July 30, the Kyiv Court of Appeal refused to satisfy the appeal op the lawyers of Chairman of the Political Council of the Opposition Platform - For Life Viktor Medvedchuk against the extension of the politician's house arrest until September 7.

The Opposition Platform - For Life responded to this legal arbitrariness, stressing that the political persecution of MP Taras Kozak has only one purpose: reprisals against independent media, 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels, and the destruction of freedom of speech in Ukraine. 

Commenting on the situation, Viktor Medvedchuk emphasized that his lawyers were fully prepared to appeal against the measure of restraint and they have evidence that refutes the prosecution's accusation and prove the illegality of applying house arrest to him.

Thus, the defense filed an appeal against the decision of the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv on extension of the measure of restraint for the politician. However, on July 30, the Kyiv Court of Appeal denied it, despite the defeat of all the arguments of the prosecution.

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.

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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