Fighting disinformation cannot be at the expense of the freedom of the press. European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi during an online meeting of the MEPs commented on the question of Vice-President of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala, whose responsibility includes democracy and human rights, about the illegal closure of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK. He said he would raise this issue with Prime Minister Denys Smygal when he arrives in Brussels next week.
Heidi Hautala: "On the 2nd of February, Zelensky banned three TV channels with no official justification. Vice President Hight Representative Borrel has said he is convinced that fighting disinformation should not come at the expense of freedom of media. The Int Federation of Journalists has said that this is a politically motivated blatant attack on press freedom so Commissioner would you think there's a case to raise this with the Ukrainian authorities?"
Olivér Várhelyi: "Yes, I am aware of the banning of the three TV channels. I must agree that I fully agree with the statement of Josep Borrell, fighting disinformation cannot be at the expense of the freedom of press and this is why I am going to raise this issue with the Prime Minister who is coming to Brussels next week or the Association Council," he said.
"We take this issue very seriously," Várhelyi added.
Earlier, the authorities in the person of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky made a decision to destroy three opposition TV channels: 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK.
Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council decided to close three TV channels. Acting on the direct orders of the president, the Defense Council on a far-fetched pretext banned the TV channels of the Novyny media holding.
The media holding regards this decision of the Defense Council and President Zelensky as a political reprisal against objectionable media.
112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK TV channels intend to fight for their right to broadcast for Ukrainians, bring the truth to citizens and be on air.