The decision of the Ukrainian authorities to ban NewsOne, 112 Ukraine and ZiK TV channels might influence the freedom of expression in Ukraine as Radio Liberty reported citing a report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
“Although the final goal for the state is the protection of the national security, including counteraction disinformation, the OHCHR is concerned that this decision might influence the freedom of expression in Ukraine and reminds that the state must respect, protect and provide the right for freedom of expression, including the right to get and spread various information and ideas,” Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Matilda Bogner said.
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.
On February 26, the journalists of TV channels illegally closed by President Volodymyr Zelensky united and created a new TV channel – Pershiy Nezalezhniy.
On the same day, Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel was disconnected from broadcasting an hour after its start under the pressure of the authorities and law enforcement agencies.