The staff of newly created Pershiy Nezalezhniy (First Independent) TV channel has appealed with an open letter to the MEPs, the Council of Europe Secretary-General, Delegation of the European Union to the UN, the OSCE President, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Office of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch organization, the International Federation of Journalists with a request to protect journalists from the arbitrary rules of the Ukrainian authorities, pnk.tv reports.
Find the full text of the letter below.
We, the staff of the Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel, entirely created by the journalists for the first time in the history of Ukraine, ask for your support and protection from the arbitrariness of the Ukrainian authorities. February 26, the TV channel began its broadcasting, however, an hour after the start of the broadcast, after the authorities’ instructions, telecommunication service providers have been subjected to the pressure, as a result of which our satellite broadcasting was stopped, despite the previously agreed cooperation arrangements. The TV channel did not survive even a day, however, we were denied our right to work without any legal basis; we were refused access to our audience.
Ukrainian authorities go beyond all reasonable bounds by violating legislation and international norms, continue to purposefully destroy freedom of speech in the country. In early February, three TV channels – 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZiK – were banned without any legal background. At the whim of President Zelensky's Office, almost 1,500 journalists were kicked out on the street. However, we did not give up and created a new Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel, which united the staff of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZiK.
Fighting the current government is not our goal. We, as journalists, just want to continue our job and convey the truth about what is happening in the country and beyond its boundaries. However, this legitimate right has been denied.
We urge you to react to the present situation and voice your position on what is happening.
Respectively submitted, the staff of the Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel.