Journalists of three Ukrainian TV channels held an action of solidarity against censorship

20:37, 2 October 2019

112 Ukraine, Zik and NewsOne TV channels ceased broadcasting for 30 minutes. The action, as the media workers say, is a response to the attempts of Ukrainian authorities to suppress freedom of speech.

Ukrainian Parliament has also supported the efforts of the TV channels to fight for their right to stay on air. The "Opposition Platform - For Life" MPs went to the Verkhovna Rada rostrum with a poster "I stand against censorship".

Politically motivated decisions by courts and the National Council of TV and Radio Broadcasting, and the fact of government's denial of acts of intimidation against the media, forced the journalists of independent media to seek freedom of speech and address to the President of France Emanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the OSCE with an open letter. As a result of the unlawful decision of the National Council, the audience of the 112 Ukraine TV Channel dropped by 40%. The TV channel was an unchallenged leader of the country's information broadcasting. Now, these 40% are deprived of their right to receive objective information.

Members of the European Union have commented on the situation.

Shaffaq Mohammed, the Member of the European Parliament from the United Kingdom stresses that mass media should have the freedom to investigate

“It’s really important that democracy, like we have here in the European Union, in 28 states, has free fair press. We are able to challenge the government. It’s very important that not just the governments’ voices are heard, but also the opposition voices heard. And the press should have the freedom to investigate. The police and the government should provide protection, that the people should not be allowed to attack the press,” Shaffaq Mohammed says.

Shaffaq Mohammed supports the expansion of the EU with its core values.

“I want to see EU expanded. I want the European Union values expanded – freedom of press, freedom of expression. People should be able to have different opinions. And to have that they should be able to have that broadcast. They should have arguments and debates on television,” he added.

Catherine Bearder, the Member of the European Parliament, ensures that the EU is watching the situation with freedom of speech in Ukraine.

“European Union of course stands for freedom of speech. We will encourage our partners in the East to have that. And that means ensuring that reporting is done freely without restrictions. It is up for the listener to make the decisions on the stories they listen to. I am concerned here that there are reports of threats to the freedom of speech,” Catherine Bearder commented to 112 Ukraine TV channel.

The EU needs to see that equality and transparency are held up and the criminal acts are investigated in Ukraine.

“Here in European Union we are watching and we need to see that equality and transparency are held up and the criminal acts are investigated,” she added.

Caroline Voaden, Member of European Parliament, representing Renew Europe Group, is concerned with the situation of Ukrainian TV channels.

“I think it’s really really important for strong functioning democracy to have a free media. It’s absolutely vital, that the media is able to give all the opinions, all points of view and the people should be able to hear all the points of view on national television. So it is very concerning to hear about violent attacks on journalists and to hear that the police are not investigating attacks on journalists. I think it’s very worrying,” Caroline Voaden said.

Ukraine should look harder at how the country is treating media if it is looking to become a member of the European Union.

“Obviously Ukraine is looking to become a member of the European Union. And I would say if they are serious about that then they really need to look harder at how they are treating media and make sure that the media is free to report freely and fairly on anything going on in the country. And that means interviewing anybody from the government or the opposition”, she added.