112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels were making nervous the Bankova Street for a long time due to the sharp burning rhetoric. However, during the rule of Petro Poroshenko, the authorities did not decide to use blatantly dictatorial methods. The representatives of the National Council were holding a war against 112 Ukraine TV channel, refusing in re-issuance of the license and it was considered as the pressure from the authorities and attempt to change the editorial policy of the mass media. However, the mass media was broadcasting.
When Zelensky came to power, 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels were the leaders of Ukrainian information broadcasting. Thus, the share of 112 Ukraine was more than the share of four contenders in total.
The administration of Zelensky almost immediately decided to strike at the uncontrolled TV channels to block any critics against it.
In July 2019, 112 Ukraine TV channel planned to show the film of Oliver Stone Revealing Ukraine. In the movie, famous American director tried to puzzle out why the crisis has occurred in our country. As a response, the Ukrainian authorities threatened with prosecution if the movie is released. Particularly, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has threatened with the opening of the criminal case. Finally, the broadcasting of the movie was canceled. As well as the TV link-up between Ukraine and Russia was canceled within which there was an attempt to organize the platform for discussion of non-political issues by common people, who have never doubted the territorial integrity of Ukraine, without politicians and odious propagandists. NewsOne TV channel, which had to broadcast the TV link-up, faced threats and curses from the officials.
Then, the terrorist act was committed in Kyiv – the office of 112 Ukraine TV channel was attacked from the grenade launchers. 112 Ukraine TV channel that received the threats from the Ukrainian far-right activists, who try to influence the editorial policy of the TV channel. The leadership of the TV channel stated that the authorities cover the crimes of the far-right activists and do not want to investigate the terrorist action that was condemned by western politicians and the OSCE.
Instead of investigation of this fact, as well as numerous threats against TV channels from the far-right activists, Zelensky provides silent agreement for numerous inspections of the TV channel.
In September 2019, the National Council on TV and Radio broadcasting of Ukraine, on the order of the Bankova Street, has deprived 112 Ukraine TV channel of digital licenses for broadcasting. TV channel has lost 42% of the audience; however, it remained to be the first among the information TV channels. In 2020, the total share of TV channels of Novosti media group exceeded the total share of all other information TV channels of Ukraine (4.15% against 3.68% of the adult audience (18+/50+).
Whereas such methods did not bring the results to Zelensky, the journalists continued to cover fairly the attempts of the president to assume power in Ukraine, the President’s Office tried to deprive Taras Kozak of 112 Ukraine TV channel. Zelensky has ordered the Security Service of Ukraine to arrest the profit participation rights of the TV channel and pass the media to ARMA governance. The president did not succeed – Shevchenkivsky district court of Kyiv found such actions illegal.
Soon, the president proceeded from the cover actions to blatant pressure and speculated for the advance. For the closure of undesirable TV channels, the illicit sanctions of the NSDC were imposed against their owner, MP from the Opposition Platform – For Life Taras Kozak, despite the fact that it is banned by the current legislation. No evidence of the violations of the law by Taras Kozak was provided. Three popular TV channels stopped broadcasting after the illegal order of the president. It caused heavy criticism of the world mass media. Many western politicians criticized this decision of Zelensky. Besides, Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Dmytro Razumkov did not agree with it.
Despite such serious pressure from the authorities, the journalists of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK TV channels withstood and created a new Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel. After an hour of broadcasting, the TV channel was shut off on the satellite without any grounds. The SBU representatives committed the violation of the law, threatening the providers with the problems and demanding to shut off Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel.
The UN, Freedom House, and other international organizations responded to this blatant violation of the law. There is no law for Zelensky. That is why he builds a dictatorship in Ukraine.