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Thanks to YouTube's position, illegally closed 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and Zik remain leaders of Ukrainian media market

16:33, 16 June 2021

 

Free access to information is a basic human need in the modern world. In democratic countries, a citizen can freely receive and use information. It makes a person's life safer, more comfortable and protects from informational violence. The Ukrainian government's bans violate the basic principles of democracy and in every way restrict the right of millions of citizens for the free access to information.

The YouTube platform did not support the authorities' unsubstantiated demands to stop the broadcast of Zik, NewsOne and 112 Ukraine TV channels in the Internet. It agreed only to limit access to the channels for viewers from the territory of Ukraine.  Yet, the number of subscribers of these channels on YouTube continues to grow. Over a million regular viewers have already subscribed to 112 Ukraine alone. This means that people want to receive honest and unbiased information. They want to exercise their right to access information.

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission stated that closure of Ukrainian opposition TV channels contradicts international human rights standards. "On 2 February, the President of Ukraine signed a decree of the National Council for Security and Defense, imposing sanctions against Taras Kozak and his eight companies, which resulted in the closure of three television channels (112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK) which are perceived as pro-Russian. This decision is contrary to international human rights standards, as it lacks justification of its necessity and proportionality, and was not taken by an independent authority."

Ukraine is ranked 97th in the World Press Freedom Index. The international organization Reporters Without Borders assesses the situation with the media in Ukraine as "problematic." Human rights activists are concerned that murders of journalists Pavel Sheremet, Georgiy Gongadze, Vadim Komarov and some others are not investigated. This leads to impunity for violence against mass media and their employees. That is why the lawyers of ZIK, NewsOne and 112 Ukraine are proving in courts the illegality of Ukrainian authorities’ decisions on closure of the TV channels.

While the authorities are eliminating and restricting access to independent media, YouTube remains the only independent broadcasting service. Here, Ukrainian journalists can publish materials without government censorship. Only here one can find out the truth about what is happening in Ukraine.

Restoring access to Zik, NewsOne and 112 Ukraine for Ukrainian users of YouTube platform will provide access to information for millions of Ukrainians. It is an important decision for the sake of protection of democracy and ensuring a free and impartial choice for Ukraine's 40 million people.  Everyone has the right to the truth.

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