Signatures gathering kicked off in the European Parliament to address to the Verkhovna Rada to revise its recommendation to the National Defense Council to sanction two Ukrainian TV channels - 112 Ukraine and NewsOne.
A screenshot of the respective document is available. A number of Members of European Parliament have signed it already.
The MEPs appeal to the viewpoint of Harlem Désir, the OSCE Representative on freedom of the media, who had already expressed his concern regarding the current situation.
"We would like to stress that freedom of expression and freedom of the media are fundamental commitments of Ukraine under the terms of Association Agreement with the European Union", - reads the message.
On Tuesday, Nathan Lee Gill, a British politician who is a Member of the European Parliament, in his exclusive interview to the 112 Ukraine TV channel said that he supports the 112 Ukraine TV channel, as he supports the thing which is essential for every nation – to have free press, that tell everything they intend to.
Here is the text of the document:
"We are deeply concerned about a decision by Ukraine's Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, which calls for sanctions against Ukrainian television channels 112 Ukraine and NewsOne which may be forced to terminate their activities.
We join here the OSCE Representative on freedom of the media who has already expressed explicitly their deep concern about this move.
We would like to stress that freedom of expression and freedom of the media are fundamental commitments of Ukraine under the terms of Association Agreement with the European Union. Any restrictions imposed on these rights, including in the name of protecting national security or countering propaganda, should be strictly limited in scope, proportional, and provide for adequate safeguards against abuse through an independent court system. It is against established European democratic standards that political bodies like the parliament attempt to interfere with the editorial policy of independent broadcasters let alone seeks to punish them for it.
We call upon the Parliament of Ukraine to revise its notorious decision and allow genuine freedom of the press in Ukraine to continue."
As we reported earlier, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada urges the country’s National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to introduce sanctions against several Ukrainian TV channels. 229 MPs supported the draft law No. 9157 on 'Approval of recommendations to introduce personal special economic sanctions and other restrictive measures (sanctions)'.
CEO of 112 Ukraine TV channel Yegor Benkendorf stated that the attempt to stop the operation of 112 Ukraine is a part of a large-scale process and concerns an unsatisfactory situation with the respect of freedom of speech in Ukraine. According to him, 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.
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.
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.
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.