As 112 Ukraine TV channel has been the target of attacks from different political forces who stand against the obligation of the freedom of speech and basic principles of the journalistic work for four years, which all culminated in the regulation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on introducing sanctions adopted on October 4, 2018, the TV channel decided to send several appeals to the leading international organizations, in particular, to those which deal with the protection of the journalist rights.
The appeal was sent to the President of the European Commission Donald Tusk, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Liliane Maury-Pasquier, President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Coordinator of the Europe and Central Asia Program of the Committee to Protect Journalists Nina Ognianova, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists Anthony Bellanger.
Moreover, the appeal was sent to the international organizations Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and International Federation of Journalists.
112 Ukraine TV channel emphasizes again that it was following the principles of the journalistic work, giving an opportunity to express one’s opinion for all the Ukrainian politicians, the representatives of the governmental bodies and independent experts during its existence. Also, the channel does not avoid covering acute political and social issues, and such position of the TV channel cases and will cause opposition from individual politicians and political forces.
Here is the text of the appeal:
112 Ukraine TV channel takes this opportunity in order to express you respect and attract your attention to the urgent need to protect one of the most popular Ukrainian TV channel. The accusations against 112 Ukraine TV channel indicate the threat to freedom of speech and independence of mass media, which make major values of the democratic society.
112 Ukraine TV channel is a leader of news information broadcasting and ranks in top ten most top-rated Ukrainian TV channels. The broadcasting content of the TV channel is comprised of live guest studios, journalist investigation programs, a few programs of interviews and regular news packages. From 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 prepares two large-scale talk shows with a social focus, which is scheduled for November, 2018.
The ether of 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, point at the increase of the corruption level and scaling down of 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.
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 political PR. 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”, the 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 European Council Committee of Ministers 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.
CEO of 112 Ukraine TV channel