The international editorial Council of 112 Ukraine TV channel is extremely indignant at the current situation in Ukraine, when 112 Ukraine TV channel, country's leader in information broadcasting, may be deprived of broadcast license due to an upcoming illegal court decision.
The International Editorial Council is concerned about information on incriminating contacts of the judges who are considering the case of extending the licenses of the 112 Ukraine TV channel, with the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, whose recent meeting was reported by Ukrainian media. As you know, the Office of the President of Ukraine is headed by lawyer Andriy Bohdan, whom journalists and experts call the protege of oligarch Igor Kolomoysky. The direct pressure on judges from the Office of the President of Ukraine might result in the termination of digital broadcasting of the 112 Ukraine TV channel, followed by the termination of satellite broadcasting and the disappearance of the channel from cable networks.
The International Editorial Council regards these actions as a continuation of the attack against freedom of speech in Ukraine, which began under President Poroshenko and, unfortunately, goes on under the new government. Thus, under President Poroshenko, the channel was subjected to pressure due to its independent stand by way of unconstitutional decisions by the Verkhovna Rada, intimidation of journalists by far-right organizations and the attempt of the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting to deprive the channel of the license. These decisions are currently being appealed by the 112 Ukraine TV channel in court. We regard today’s rescheduling of the court hearing only as a temporary postponement that the court was forced to rule due to the active position of our colleagues-journalists and due to the fact that the visit of the judges to the Office of the President was made public in mass media.
In turn, after the change of power in Ukraine, the situation around the channel has worsened. In July, 112 Ukraine TV channel became the object of an unprecedented attack by unknown people, when the building of the TV channel, was shelled from a grenade launcher. Ukraine's law enforcement agencies qualified this attack as a terrorist act. Fairly recently, the current MP of the Ukrainian parliament Serhiy Vysotsky was able to afford himself direct calls for the shelling the channel with the use of anti-tank guided missiles. Unfortunately, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky exposed no reaction to the terrorist act and provocative statements against the channel.
The International Editorial Council requires President Volodymyr Zelensky to intervene in the current situation, to voice his position on the impermissibility of threatening to journalists and to condemn the possible interference of head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Bohdan in the affairs of the judicial branch of power in Ukraine, thus ending the vicious practice of the former president to take the "necessary" court decisions.
If there is no reaction to the illegal actions against the 112 Ukraine TV channel, the International Editorial Council shall bring the issue of repression of free speech in Ukraine for discussion to the European Parliament. In addition to that, a corresponding court appeal will be sent to the President of the European Commission, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Journalists to international organizations Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, and the European Federation of Journalists. In addition, the appeal of the International Editorial Council will be sent to foreign diplomatic missions in Ukraine. The International Editorial Council hopes that the pressure on the 112 Ukraine TV channel will be eliminated and the channel continues its work with no hassle. Thus, for us, this will become a sign that the President of Ukraine values and shares the basic European values, including freedom of the media. We will continue monitoring the developments concerning the TV channel. We reserve the right to seek help from the relevant European authorities in case of further pressure on the 112 Ukraine TV channel.