On February 10, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Ukraine. In it, MEPs express extreme dissatisfaction with the political persecution of independent media in our country. In addition, MEPs are dissatisfied with the bill to counter the dissemination of false information, believing that in this way the state will receive additional tools to interfere in the activities of journalists. The European Parliament also called on the Ukrainian authorities to make every effort to investigate the numerous attacks on journalists over the past few years.
The main theses of the resolution:
The European Parliament notes the undergoing reform efforts in the area of the media;
Regrets that the political climate in the country has deteriorated when intimidation, hate speech and political pressure are widely used for political purposes; urges the authorities to strongly condemn and ban the activities of extremist and hate speech groups and websites such as Peacemaker, who create tension in society and misuse the personal data of hundreds of people, including journalists, politicians and members of minority groups.
The resolution mentions the situation with freedom of the press in Ukraine, the need to loosen the oligarchs' tight grip on the media, encourage editorial independence and fight impunity for crimes of violence against journalists;
Stresses that the reform should ensure in particular the independence, impartiality and accountability of the regulatory body, transparency of media ownership and equal opportunities for media outlets with fair competition on the market;
Expresses concern at plans to give to the regulatory agency new and extensive competences which run the risk of impinging on freedom of the media and the content of the online and printed media;
Stresses, in relation to the draft law on countering disinformation, that the current draft could lead to broad state interference in media content and journalism activities at the expense of media freedom and will not be efficient in countering disinformation;
Urges that a broader consultation be organised with the media community and relevant international organisations to avoid risks to freedom of expression;
Regrets the numerous attacks on journalists and civil activists registered in the period 2017-2019;
Сalls on the Ukrainian authorities to prosecute the perpetrators and ensure the safety of media workers and journalists, and urges them to adopt a proportionate approach when regulating the media;
Urges the development of democratic, independent, pluralistic and balanced media landscape in Ukraine, which would bring to an end the politically motivated persecution of media channels, including revoking of licenses, and ensure the protection of local journalists, opinion makers and dissident voices from harassment and intimidation, allow non-discriminatory access to online and offline information and meaningful civic participation, and safeguard and guarantee human and civil rights;
Stresses that journalists, human rights defenders and defence lawyers should be able to work independently and without undue interference and intimidation;
Earlier, on February 2, 2021, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on the introduction of personal sanctions against the MP from the Opposition Platform - For Life Taras Kozak. In particular, it is about the cancellation of broadcasting licenses of the TV channels belonging to him (112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK). According to the decree, which came into force from the moment of signing, sanctions were applied to TV channels for five years.
The media holding regards this decision of the Defense Council and President Zelensky as a political reprisal against unwanted media.