Authorities organized a paid out rally near the building of the 112 Ukraine TV channel. This time, instead of national radicals, "national radical" grandmothers were sent to picket an independent broadcaster.
Our journalists filmed elderly people and students, who got paid $10 per hour. The rally lasted from 11:00 to 13:00, after which the group faded away in an organized manner.
As a matter of curiosity, posters and banners of the protesters were made in a similar style with numerous spelling mistakes.
The team of the 112 Ukraine TV Channel respects the right of every citizen to peaceful assembly but doesn't believe that pressuring independent media through paid out protests is not the way of the law-bound state. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democracy. And the fact that our government is trying to restrain it is regretted by many Ukrainian and Western politicians.
112 Ukraine TV Channel express the law enforcement agencies its gratitude for guarding public order near our office, so the protest was peaceful and calm.
And we express our regret to the organizers of the rally: neither the money spent, nor the threat, including threats to close the TV channel, will reach the goal. 112 Ukraine TV Channel will continue covering events in our country objectively, monitoring actions of the authorities and criticizing them in cases when their actions didn't comply with the interests of the people.
As we reported earlier, this summer national radical forces gathered a protest. After the threats, our TV channel was shelled from a grenade launcher. The culprits have not yet been found.
The National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting illegally revoked the digital broadcast licenses of the 112 Ukraine TV Channel, while a number of corruption acts by the members of the National Council are not investigated.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has created a temporary investigative commission for the so-called investigation of the activity of the 112 Ukraine TV Channel, while the initiator of such a commission is itself involved in a high-profile corruption scandal.
A number of prominent European officials like Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and several dozens of Members of European Parliament have already called on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure the security of journalists and stop the attacks on freedom of expression.
The staff of the channel sent an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a request to influence Ukrainian authorities.