The staff of Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel passed the letter to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech Nestor Shufrych, in which the journalists appealed to the parliamentarian with a request to take the TV channel under protection and provide the opportunity to do their job.
The staff of the TV channel wants to do their job, exercise the right to freedom of speech and deliver objective information to their viewers, but the Ukrainian authorities, grossly violating the rule of law, repeatedly deprive journalists of the opportunity to do it.
Full text of the letter:
Dear Mr. Shufrych!
The team of “Pershiy Nezalezhniy” TV channel has never depended on the opinion of the authorities or groups of influence. Throughout the period of our activity, we work systematically and with high quality every day in order to realize the right of the Ukrainians to access information.
Unfortunately, in modern Ukraine, journalists cannot exercise their right to a profession and citizens cannot receive honest and objective information. This is due to the authorities, which disregard the laws and the Constitution, and close dissenting media upon the phone call.
In February 2021, in grave breach of basic principles of rule of law, extrajudicially (by the decision of the National Security and Defense Council, while deprivation of media licenses is possible by court decision only), the Ukrainian authorities banned the broadcasting of three leading news channels – “112 Ukraine,” “NewsOne,” and “ZIK.” Furthermore, by the ordinary letter of the Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine and again without trial, the authorities criminally stopped the broadcasting of “Pershiy Nezalezhniy” TV channel, which united the journalists of three closed channels, an hour after the broadcast began.
But we did not give up and continue to do our job. We have our own audience that watches us on YouTube, Facebook and Telegram despite the bans.
Our team has all the necessary professional skills to convey honest and objective information to the citizens of Ukraine. But the authorities have deprived us of the opportunity to broadcast our position on television, and are trying to block us on the Internet, interfering with our activities in every possible way.
We appeal to you, as the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech, and as a successful Ukrainian entrepreneur who is well aware of the difficulties that arise if one has a business, and ask you to take under your protection our TV channel, to give us the opportunity to do our job. We are not broadcasting what President’s Office wants, we are broadcasting what the Ukrainian people expect from journalists - the truth about the state of affairs in the country.
Today, the freedom of speech in the country depends on our joint actions.
Only together will we defeat the dictatorship.
The staff of “Pershiy Nezalezhniy” TV channel
Earlier, journalists of the illegally closed Ukrainian media sent an appeal to the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Diplomatic Adviser to the President of France Emmanuel Bonne, Director for the UN and International Human Rights Organizations at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Fabien Penon, Director for European Union Affairs at the Ministry Europe and French Foreign Affairs Pierre Setton, parliamentarian and Chairman of the France-Ukraine friendship group in the National Assembly Valéria Faure Muntian, President of Reporters Without Borders Pierre Haski, Chairman of the French branch of the Association of European Journalists, Veronique Auger, and many other diplomats.
By the way, this is not the only rally of the journalists of the illegally closed 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK and Pershy Nezalezhniy TV channels where they call on the international community to pay attention to the problem of freedom of speech in Ukraine.
Earlier, teams the TV channels and websites illegally closed by the Ukrainian authorities wrote a letter to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken about total censorship and a serious threat to freedom of information in Ukraine.
The also met with the Secretary of the Senate, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces Joël Guerriau, and the Vice-President of the Committee on Constitutional Laws, Legislation, Universal Suffrage, Rules and General Administration (LOISa) of the French Senate Nathalie Goulet and informed the senators about the catastrophic situation with freedom of speech in Ukraine.
Before that, they appealed to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights with a request to pay attention to the problem of the destruction of freedom of speech in Ukraine and to influence the Ukrainian government in general and President Zelensky in particular.
In late August, the journalists of the illegally closed 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZiK TV channels, Pershiy Nezalezhniy, KRT, representatives of Strana.ua and Sharij.net held a mass rally and handed over a letter about illegal actions of the Ukrainian authorities against media representatives to the U.S. Embassy. They also called on U.S. President Joe Biden to raise the problem of Zelensky's destruction of freedom of speech in Ukraine.
Earlier, hundreds of journalists from 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK TV channels came to the UN Office in Ukraine to express their gratitude for the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights "Update on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine," which deemed the closure of the TV channels illegal.