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Statement of Oleh Voloshyn on freedom of speech at the EU-Ukraine Association Parliamentary Committee meeting

Author : Oleh Voloshyn

Source : 112 Ukraine

"I am representing the second biggest party in parliament, the second most supported party in the society, I do see that there are multiple problems that we can solve together only being unbiased and only seeing the problem in general," Oleh Voloshyn
09:30, 20 December 2019

gordonua.com

Very unbiased and very objective thoughts. Because listening to some European colleagues, I had an impression that after finishing this our meeting I need to travel to Paris to our Embassy to help our diplomats process the requests for migration visas since thousands of Europeans really try to go to Ukraine because it's so blossoming with democracy, welfare, etc. While the reality on the ground is different. It's millions of Ukrainians would do whatever possible to get to European Union because of the worsening economic social and security situation in our country.

And let's take the off, it's time, it's 2019, already almost 2020 to take off the pink glasses and to take off the biased optics of those who claim that there is paradise with the regard to the rights of journalists while the freedom...

There is an internationally recognized index, called the Freedom of Press Index created by Reporters without Borders organization that ranks?? Ukraine literally as a country with noticeable problems with freedom of press. I wonder why Frau Cramon-Taubadel doesn't notice those problems. Ok, maybe it is a problem of optics, maybe she notices problems of those journalists who used to be quite friendly to the Greens in Germany or to the green movement in general. When there were problems with Mustafa Nayem it's fine, when there are problems with some other media, it's not noticeable.

And we understand this was a biased approach which was exactly that problem with European Union trying at some point to really play with only those who try to be liked. While now I am representing the second biggest party in parliament, the second most supported party in the society, I do see that there are multiple problems that we can solve together only being unbiased and only seeing the problem in general.

And here, when for instance, with the tribulations, it's not about jokes, it's about the reality. We all heard how the European Union was condemning, not just expressing concern about the pace of the judicial reform, but directly asking Ukraine not to implement the last phase of judicial reform because of the big concern that it diminishes the freedom of judiciary.

And what we heard from the leader of the ruling party? He said: "Let the EU Ambassadors who express these concerns, take Ukrainian citizenship, run to parliament and become MPs and try to change the law". It wasn't even imaginable, this kind of remark during Yanukovych, Poroshenko, Yushchenko, all other presidents before this one. And I don't think it's a good example because from this start the neglect of EU recommendation in general, the neglect of Venice Commission recommendations when it comes to the reform of education, when it comes to the linguistic issue, the issue that was raised by president Băsescu (Traian Băsescu - President of Romania from 2004 to 2014, - ed.) and many other issues.

So if we really want a true dialogue, not just to pretend that everything is ok, that we meet here twice a year, once here, once in Kyiv, tell nice things to each other and then go home, understand that Ukraine will never possibly become a member of European Union, then why care? We want Ukraine to become a member of the European Union provided that it achieves the level of freedom, the level of prosperity, the level of respect of the rules, of the rights of opposition, of independent media, NGOs, that is normal of the European Union.

Two days ago, there was a debate about the murder of journalist in Malta, yes, it was, there is a problem. But, the debate was whether the Prime Minister of Malta should resign immediately or he should resign in January as he promised. While in case of murder of Pavlo Sheremet, not even the middle level policeman in Kyiv resigned. So, it's impunity on the crimes against journalists and if European Union continues to keep blind eye to this problems, more and more Ukrainians will believe that European Union doesn't really care for freedom of press in Ukraine. Thank you!

***

On September 26 the National council on questions of television and radio broadcasting deprived TV channel "112 Ukraine" of digital licenses for broadcasting.

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.

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