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112 Ukraine TV channel needs protection: Open letter

Author : News Agency 112 International

Source : 112 Ukraine

Unfortunately, for today, 112 Ukraine TV channel has to confirm the impossibility to protect its rights independently by legal tools, and soon, it might lead to cessation of the broadcasting. That is why, we ask You to express your position on the protection of our right to a profession, people’s rights for freedom of expression, the right for thinking and speaking freely
22:24, 4 October 2018

112 Agency

112 Ukraine TV channel takes this opportunity to express its respect to you and attract your attention to the urgent need to protect one of the most popular Ukrainian TV channels. The accusations against 112 Ukraine TV channel indicate the threat to freedom of speech and independence of the media as major values of the democratic society.

112 Ukraine TV channel is a leader of news information broadcasting and ranks in the top ten most rated Ukrainian TV channels. The broadcasting content of the TV channel comprises live guest studios, journalist investigation programs, a few programs of interviews, and regular news packages. With a beginning of the new season, the TV channel has launched a full-featured political talk show, which became the most popular political program on the Ukrainian television right away, and is preparing two major talk shows with a social focus, scheduled for November 2018.

The TV channel welcomes the representatives of different political forces, public figures, and experts regardless of their political preferences. It is natural, that our guests might be people who criticize the current authority, pointing to the corruption level increase and curtailing the freedom of expression, in particular. We stress that the communication with our guests is held on air, therefore, such information is presented “uncut” and without editing, and people in the studio have an opportunity to express their opinion on the most acute issues, which concern the community.

112 Agency

Unfortunately, with the approaching of two election campaigns of 2019, there are more and more politicians in Ukraine who are trying to use the editorial policy of the TV channel as a target of the attacks and a tool for a cheap politicking. Unfortunately, we have to admit that the constant attacks from the authorities, which was refusing to prolong broadcasting licenses for the TV channel, is now followed by pressure from the radically minded people’s deputies of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, who started gathering signatures to stop the broadcasting of the TV channel, and have recently adopted the regulation on imposition of the sanctions against several companies who own TV channels.

112 Ukraine TV channel considers that efforts to halt its activities are a part of a larger process concerning unsatisfactory situation with respect for the freedoms of expression. Western and Ukrainian human rights organizations, politicians, statesmen, and independent media experts have repeatedly drawn attention to the issue. Following the Declaration of Helsinki of 1975, the states undertook to respect the freedom of expression, facilitate free and wide dissemination of all forms of information. General Comment No. 34 on Art. 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that the countries should take effective measures on protection of those who assert his right on freedom of speech.

Following the PACE resolution 1638 (2008) “Indicators for media in a democracy,” national legislation has to guarantee the right of freedom of expression of views and information and this right has to be applicable in practice. Journalists cannot be deprived of freedom and media cannot be shut down because of the criticism.

The Declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe as of April 30, 2014, says that countries have to create an enabling environment for the participation in the public discussion of all the individuals allowing them to express their views and ideas without fear. The states have to not only refrain from interfering the exercise of freedom of speech for this but also protect this right from the external threats, including from the other individuals, by creating an effective protection system.

Unfortunately, for today, 112 Ukraine TV channel has to confirm the impossibility to protect its rights independently by legal tools, and soon, it might lead to cessation of the broadcasting. That is why, we ask you to express your position on the protection of our right to a profession, people’s rights for freedom of expression, the right for thinking and speaking freely. For most of our personnel, 112 Ukraine TV channel is one of the last islands of freedom of speech, one of the last places for the implementation of the journalist profession left in Ukraine.

We necessarily need help, as in the future we are not going to refuse from the basic principles of our work – the obligation of the journalistic standards, provision of the possibility to express ideas of all the political forces on equal terms, the readiness to discuss most urgent issues of the modern Ukrainian community.

 

Respectfully,

CEO of 112 Ukraine TV channel

Yegor Benkendorf 

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