Due to today's attempt of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to obtain a court’s ruling that would allow the seizure of property and corporate rights of 112 Ukraine TV channel, International Editorial Board of the channel, which includes Members of European Parliament of different convocations Nathan Gill (United Kingdom), Arne Gericke (Germany) and David Coburn (United Kingdom), addresses the diplomatic missions and international organizations in the field of protection of journalists' rights with the following statement:
The International Editorial Board of 112 Ukraine TV channel considers today's attempt by the Ukrainian authorities to obtain a decision from Shevchenkivsky District Court of Kyiv that would allow the seizure of 112 Ukraine's corporate rights and their transfer under the management of Agency for Investigation and Management of Assets (ARMA) as an attempt to raid the TV channel, conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine and the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine upon the order of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The International Editorial Board notes that in order to raid the TV channel, the Main Investigation Department of the Security Service, in coordination with the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, appealed to the Shevchenkivsky District Court of Kyiv to seize the corporate rights of a group of companies of 112 Ukraine TV channel and transfer them under management of Agency for Investigation and Management of Assets (ARMA). If such a motion was granted, ARMA as a state body could appoint a manager for the private 112 Ukraine TV channel or sell it to a third party at auction. This way, the TV channel could have been forcibly and irrevocably taken away from its current rightful owner for political reasons. According to Ukrainian law, such actions are illegal and can be interpreted as criminal offenses: abuse of power and abuse of office, exceeding authority by law enforcement officers, and so on.
The International Editorial Board considers the case against 112 Ukraine TV channel as a far-fetched and politically motivated attempt by the Ukrainian authorities to continue exercising pressure on the opposition television channel. In view of this, the International Editorial Board hails the decision of the court, which rejected the SBU and the Office of the Prosecutor General but states further attack on the rights of journalists and the restrictions of freedom of speech in Ukraine.
The International Editorial Board draws the attention of international organizations in the field of protection of journalists' rights to the fact that 112 Ukraine TV channel has previously been pressured due to its independent position by the unconstitutional decisions of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, intimidation of journalists by right-wing radical organizations and aggressive policy of the National TV Council. In addition, last year the building of the TV channel was shelled with a grenade launcher, which was qualified as a terrorist act, but the offenders have not yet been found. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian authorities not only continue to ignore the appeals of the International Editorial Board and the staff of the TV channel but on top of that they attempted to raid the TV channel.
The International Editorial Board intends to continue working to include the issue of oppression of freedom of speech in Ukraine, the high-handedness of the Ukrainian government, the impunity of radical organizations and the lack of safety of Ukrainian reporters to the agenda of main European and international organizations, which care for protection of human rights and democratic freedoms. The International Editorial Board also urges diplomatic establishments in Ukraine to comment on the TV policy-related actions of the Ukrainian government.
The International Editorial Board expresses support to the staff of 112 Ukraine TV channel, marking that it would pay maximum efforts to turn the world's attention to urgent protection of the most popular news channel of Ukraine. As it is under attack, it proves there are serious threats for the media independence in Ukraine.