The EU attaches the highest importance to the freedom of expression and media. Federica Mogherini, the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stated that in an official response on behalf of the European Commission to the Question for written answer filled by Nathan Lee Gill, a British politician and a Member of the European Parliament, on October 23, 2018.
“The issue is part of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and it is, therefore, part of the discussions with Ukrainian authorities in our regular dialogues, such as the annual human rights dialogue and the Association Council. In the joint statement of the last EU-Ukraine Summit on 9 July 2018, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to media pluralism,” the statement reads.
It is also noted that while all countries have the right to ensure their national security and protect their citizens, this must be done in full respect of fundamental rights and freedoms, including the European Convention for Human Rights, and following international standards.
The EU will continue to monitor the media landscape and the situation of freedom of expression and media in Ukraine and discuss all related questions with Ukrainian authorities.
“The situation concerning 112 Ukraine and NewsOne TV channels received wide publicity in the European countries. The reaction of Ms. Mogherini is not a surprise for us, however, it is yet another important step in our fight for freedom of speech and the right of independent media to tell truth. We had many meetups with European MPs, human rights organizations and our colleagues in the countries of the EU. All of them are at one in thinking that the stunts of the authorities like this go against principles of development of a democratic state and are unacceptable in any country that chose European developmental pattern. Thus on our side, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to Federica Mogherini, the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, for her personal involvement and contributing to our efforts freedom to speak,” Artem Marchevsky, General Producer of 112 Ukraine TV channel, commented on the recent official response of Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Commission.
“This kind of reaction by our European colleagues proves that we are heading in the right direction. Indeed, the events around 112 Ukraine and NewsOne TV channels are extremely shocking European society. We put their comments on air many times and aired the reaction of Europe on the situation with freedom of speech in Ukraine. The response of Ms. Mogherini is yet another proof that truth and law are on our side. Thus, our win is inevitable,” Yehor Benkendorf, Director General of 112 Ukraine, commented on the European Commission response.
As we reported earlier, on October 4, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a regulation on approval of proposals on the imposition of individual special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions) against the broadcasters of 112 Ukraine and NewsOne.
The parliament stated that “there are systematic signs of imitation of discourse practices of Russian imperial- chauvinistic propaganda in the activity of a number of legal entities, permanent demonstration of propaganda, and spreading of the ideology of terrorism”.
112 Ukraine TV channel published an open letter to attract public attention to the urgent need to protect one of the most popular Ukrainian TV channels.
112 Ukraine TV channel also turned for help to international organizations for the protection of journalist rights.
MEPs David Coburn and Jonathan Arnott visited 112 Ukraine TV channel on October 31 to personally figure out the reasons for the scandalous vote regarding the sanctions against the TV channels and to monitor the situation with the freedom of speech in Ukraine.
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.
Constant attacks from the authorities, which were refusing to prolong broadcasting licenses for the TV channel, are 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.
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.
The staff of 112 Ukraine TV channel insists that the steps made by the Ukrainian Parliament, which aim to apply sanctions against 112 Ukraine TV channel are nothing but a political decision; there is not enough evidence to make such decision, which badly lacks argumentation and may be considered unconstitutional.