Employees of Ukrainian TV channels and websites illegally closed by the NSDC decision, including Strana, wrote an appeal to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in which they asked to pay attention to the problem of destroying freedom of speech in Ukraine and influence the authorities and President Volodymyr Zelensky personally.
This is stated in the appeal of journalists to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
Strana provides the full text of the email:
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Madam High Commissioner,
Teams of employees of TV channels illegally closed by the decision of the National Security and Defense Council-112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK, employees of the Pershy Nezalezhny TV channel, whose broadcasting was cynically interrupted an hour after the start of the broadcast by criminal actions of the SBU, namely by a letter from the deputy chairman of the Special Service, journalists of the “Country.ua» and » Shariy.net», closed by the illegal imposition of sanctions, journalists of the KRT channel, whose license was illegally revoked by the authorities, as well as journalists from other publications, have united to express their respect and appeal to you We ask you to pay attention to the inadequate state of ensuring freedom of speech in Ukraine, which resulted in the illegal closure of a number of media outlets in the country by the Ukrainian authorities.
In a blatant violation of the rule of law, the Ukrainian authorities banned the broadcasting of four influential television channels and a number of online media outlets. Today, this decision is receiving increasing condemnation from leading international human rights organizations, and news about the closure of TV channels and online publications has already been published in all the world’s leading media.
We are grateful to you for condemning the closure of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels, because this is really contrary to international human rights standards. We also welcome the UN demand that the Ukrainian authorities allow the broadcasting of TV channels and suspend sanctions until sufficient justification for the decisions of the courts is presented.
However, the Ukrainian government ignores not only the opinion of the world journalistic community, relevant international organizations and well-known politicians and experts, but even the opinion of such an authoritative international organization as the UN.
Journalists of illegally closed media outlets ask you to pay attention to this problem and, if possible, influence the Ukrainian authorities in general and President Zelensky in particular.
We are sure that the discussion of this issue will be an excellent demonstration that the protection of freedom of speech and ensuring human rights and freedoms are the main value and the main prerequisite for creating a healthy democratic society in Ukraine.
We would like to briefly inform you about the main circumstances of the media closure in Ukraine.
In early February, the Ukrainian authorities closed 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels without any legal grounds. Almost one and a half thousand journalists were thrown out on the street at the whim of Bankova. However, we did not give up and created a new TV channel – Pershy Nezalezhny, which united the collectives 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK.
On February 26, the TV channel started broadcasting, but at the direction of the authorities, an hour after the start of the broadcast, pressure was exerted on telecommunications service providers, and our satellite broadcasting was turned off, contrary to previously reached cooperation agreements. The TV channel did not work even for a day, and again, without any legal grounds, we were denied the right to work and denied access to our audience.
On July 30, 2020, the authorities revoked the broadcasting license of KRT TV channel after broadcasting a state holiday event in Belarus.
Later, on August 20, the authorities similarly blocked the work of two more popular online media outlets in Ukraine-“Strana.ua» and «Shariy.net».
Ukrainian officials have overstepped all bounds of reason and continue to flout Ukrainian legislation and international norms, purposefully destroying freedom of speech in Ukraine.
As journalists, we want to continue to work and tell people the truth about what is happening in the country and abroad. However, this legal right is denied to us.
Therefore, we ask you to respond to this situation and give your assessment of what is happening around our media.
collectives of illegally closed Ukrainian media outlets
It should be noted that recently the Office of the High Commissioner issued a regular report in which it condemned the Ukrainian authorities for shutting down independent media, calling it a violation of human rights. The UN also demanded that the Ukrainian authorities allow broadcasting of closed TV channels and suspend sanctions until sufficient justification for court decisions is presented.
Source: A country