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International, European Federations of Journalists condemn ban of three Ukrainian opposition TV channels

Source : 112 Ukraine

The IFJ and EFJ called the decision of President Volodymyr Zelensky ‘an extra-judicial and politically motivated ban and a blatant attack on press freedom that must be urgently reversed’
21:05, 3 February 2021

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International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) responded to the situation with the ban of the broadcast of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK TV channels. Both organizations condemned the ban for the work of these mass media, as Strana reported.

The IFJ and EFJ called the decision of President Volodymyr Zelensky ‘an extra-judicial and politically motivated ban and a blatant attack on press freedom that must be urgently reversed’.

According to the message, the ban of the authority put at risk the job of 1,500 people who work at the TV channels.

Related: Nathan Gill: I am sure Europe to follow closely situation around 112 Ukraine, ZIK, NewsOne TV channels; prove its inadmissibility to Zelensky

There was no official ground for the ban.  Only on Twitter, President Zelensky stated that ‘Ukraine strongly supports freedom of speech. Not propaganda financed by the aggressor country’.

The restrictive measures include the blocking of broadcasters' assets, the prohibition of using radio frequencies in Ukraine and a ban on finance operations within the country.

Earlier, the government of Ukraine accused three affected broadcasters for being under “malign Russian influence” and threatening the information security of Ukraine.

The National Union Of Journalists Of Ukraine (NUJU) said that “depriving Ukrainian citizens of access to media without a prior trial and banning hundreds of journalists and media outlets of their right to work is an attack on freedom of speech” and remarked that “the political affiliation of Ukrainian media owners registered in Ukraine is not a crime”.

Related: Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces supports closure of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK TV channels

The Independent Media Trade Union Of Ukraine (IMTUU) urged the government to develop a clear legal framework “for the division of propaganda resources and media” and claimed this politically motivated decision can pave the way to dictatorship and undermine democracy. 

You can’t fight your most malicious and insidious enemy resorting to his methods”, the union said.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “This arbitrary and politically-motivated ban is unacceptable in a democracy. The ban puts at risk the job of hundreds of media workers that have nothing to do with their media owners’ political affiliations. The IFJ calls on the Ukrainian authorities to lift the ban and respect freedom of information and speech.”

EFJ General Secretary, Ricardo Gutiérrez, said: “Banning broadcasts is one of the most extreme forms of restricting media freedom. These bans should only be applied in very exceptional circumstances. States have a positive obligation to guarantee effective media pluralism. The manner in which the licensing process is applied must provide sufficient guarantees against arbitrariness, including the proper reasoning by the authority of its decisions denying a broadcasting license. It seems clear that the presidential ban is not at all in line with international legal standards on Freedom of Expression and the broadcasting media".

Related: MEP on situation around 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK TV channels: It is astonishing to close independent media channels and count on the support of the EU

On February 2, Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on sanctions against 112 Ukraine, NewsONE, and ZiK TV channels. By this decree, he enforced the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on sanctions on the cancellation of the broadcasting licenses of the TV channels belonging to Taras Kozak (112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK). According to the decree that is eligible since the moment of signature, the TV channels faced sanctions that will be active for five years. These sanctions make broadcasting impossible.

Earlier, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine demands to close YouTube pages of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK TV channels.

Related: ZIK TV channel website moved to a new domain, the previous one was simply taken away

At the same time, Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Dmytro Razumkov said that sanctions against TV channels are always bad.

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