It’s been very interesting to listen to all the participation in the discussion in a presentation before, to hear from Peter Wagner from the European Commission regarding the progress which has been made in Ukraine. The Association Agreement… A lot of people don’t realize but that really is a stepping stone to full EU membership. And this is what the Association Agreement is there for.
So, with that in mind, I think it’s crucial that both parties, the EU and Ukraine ascertain and understand that there was a journey that has to be traveled for Ukraine with regards to bringing itself to the standards of Western democracy.
And from hearing what people are saying it’s very very positive, you know people are saying. The former president Poroshenko says that Ukraine of today is, you now a very different country from the Ukraine of 5 years ago. That is what we want, we want progress, we want to know that Ukraine is moving forward.
I have one specific question, which I’m not sure who can answer this. But with regards to that journey towards full EU membership, where does the Commission or where does the External Action Service feel that Ukraine is along that journey. So that’s one question I’ve been very interested to hear, where we are with them.
The other thing is just before coming to this meeting, I actually met with Valeriy Makeyev, the Secretary of Union of Journalists of Ukraine, who painted a very dark picture for journalist within Ukraine. An actually worsening picture. I’ve been to Ukraine several times and I’ve met with many journalists over there. They are very concerned about their safety. Now, in a 21st-century democracy, the Western democracy, they have the guardians of democracy, the journalists, who are being attacked on a regular basis, who are afraid for their own safety, I think that’s a disgrace.
And I’d like to know, what is the EU specifically doing about that? Do you raise these issues with your counterparts and specifically, I was told about a rocket attack against channel 112, an anti-tank was fired at a TV station. What is being done about that? I mean if that happens in Britain to the BBC, there would be absolute uproar. Has there been an uproar in Ukraine, in the EU? Are we fighting for the rights of the people of Ukraine to have fair and open journalism reporting all points of view? I think that is very very crucial, I’d like to hear what the EU is planning to do about this. And hopefully - what Ukraine is also doing to ensure freedom of the press in Ukraine.
The channel continues to broadcast and is available to its viewers on satellite, cable and the Internet.
The decision of the National Council has already been condemned in the European Parliament, who promised to pass this information to European officials.
The journalists of the 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels held a rally of solidarity against censorship. Three TV channels go off the air for 30 minutes.
The move is an answer to the Ukrainian authorities and their attempts to oppress freedom of speech in Ukraine.