Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech addresses the international human rights non-governmental organization Freedom House, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech addressed respected international organizations that defend principles of freedom of speech and democracy throughout the world, with a kind request to turn your attention to the improper state of ensuring freedom of speech in Ukraine, which resulted in the illegal closure of a number of media in the country by the Ukrainian authorities.

In grave breach of basic principles of rule of law, the Ukrainian authorities have banned the broadcasting of four influential TV channels and a number of online media.

In early February, three Ukrainian TV channels – “112 Ukraine”, “NewsOne”, and “ZiK” – were shut without any legal background. At the whim of President Zelensky’s Office, almost 1,500 journalists were kicked out on the street. However, we did not give up and created a new TV channel – “Pershiy Nezalezhniy” (“The First Independent”), which united the staff of “112 Ukraine”, “NewsOne”, and “ZiK”.

On February 26, the TV channel launched its broadcasting, however, an hour later and under the pressure from the authorities, Ukrainian telecom providers were compelled to stop the satellite broadcasting of the channel, even despite the previously agreed arrangements. The TV channel did not survive a day, and again without any legal background, we were denied our right to work.

On July 30, 2020, the authorities revoked the broadcasting license of the KRT TV channel after the broadcast of the state holiday event in Belarus.

Later, on August 20, similarly, the authorities blocked the work of two more popular in Ukraine online media “Strana.ua” and “sharij.net”.

Citizens of Ukraine are deprived of these rights by violating their rights to access information which is guaranteed by law. Journalists and the media are under unprecedented pressure: attacks, threats, harassment, beatings, abductions, and channel closures. At the same time, the authorities and law enforcement agencies took the position of assisting in the violation of journalists’ rights.

Today, these actions by the authorities are receiving increasingly sound condemnation on the part of respected international human rights watchdogs and news about the closure of the TV channels and online media have already been published in all the world’s leading media.

However, the Ukrainian authorities ignore the opinion of the world journalistic community, specialized international organizations and well-known politicians and experts.

Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech considers its main task the support for the legal rights of journalists and media workers, as well as constitutional human rights and freedoms.

We urge the respected international organizations to join our struggle for the freedom of speech in Ukraine, for this cornerstone of democracy. We are asking of the UN, OSCE, Freedom House to use their influence to convince the Ukrainian authorities to abandon authoritarian policies and censorship of free media in our country.

We believe that the discussion of this issue will be an excellent demonstration that the protection of freedom of speech and the protection of human rights and freedoms is a fundamental value and a precondition for the creation of a healthy democratic society.

Respectfully,

Charity Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech