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The Media movement “Media for a conscious choice” called on the National Council, the Security Service of Ukraine, the President and the Ukrainian authorities to take concrete measures in reaction to purchase of the ZIK TV channel by the ally of Viktor Medvedchuk and the concentration under his control of three news TV channels. “Detector Media” publishes the full text of the statement:
The Media movement “Media for a conscious choice” considers the concentration of information broadcasting in Ukraine by pro-Russian politicians as dangerous.
Thus, according to the data of the Unified national register of legal entities, individuals entrepreneurs and NGOs, the MP Taras Kozak, who is a close associate of the leader of the “Opposition Platform – For Life” Viktor Medvedchuk, became the ultimate beneficial owner of the ZIK TV channel (company “Television and radio company “Novi communicatsii” (New Communications), and thus, he has engrossed three Ukraine news TV channels (the 112 Ukraine Channel, NewsOne and ZIK channels), forming a de facto a new media holding. Timeline of Medvedchuk and mass media relationship is attesting that he is inclined to impose censorship in mass media and he can serve of mass media as a tool for political influence, absolutely neglecting ethical norms and professional standards of journalism.
According to the monitoring held by the NGO “Detector Media”, since the TV channels “112 Ukraine” and NewsOne have been passed under the control of some allies of Viktor Medvedchuk, they started to massively divulgate manipulative messages and misinformation, establishing by doing this an agenda in synchronization with the Kremlin propaganda messages in the public space. Also, these TV channels are engaged in outright campaigning for the “Opposition Platform – For Life”, and representatives of this political force are the most frequent guests in the studio and even hosts of author programs.
The Media movement is convinced that after the transition of the ZIK TV channel to the so-called “Medvedchuk’s media holding”, such editorial policy will be extended to this TV channel too. This is evidenced by the first decisions of the TV channel management, which is launching of Vasyl Apasov’s project, who is well- known as being pro-Russian, and cancelling the rebroadcasting of the program Tetyana Danilenko who criticized Viktor Medvedchuk.
We believe that the concentration of the news resource by a single pro-Russian politician force is to become in fact an instrument of influence aiming to support the affiliated political force at the elections. Even more threatening is the fact that these channels are engaged in the diffusing of Russian propaganda, which is a logical continuation of Viktor Medvedchuk’s personal standpoint, which, despite the official position of Ukraine and the international community, does not consider Russia as the country aggressor.
The Media movement expresses its support to the employees of ZIK TV channel who refused to work for the TV channel after change of owner. We consider it a worthy and responsible decision of people for whom independence and unbiasedness of the journalism is a value that outweighs financial interests.
We call on the National television and radio broadcasting council of Ukraine, which should monitor the balance on TV channels, to finally begin to effectively fulfill its duty and to ensure the objectivity of news broadcasting and to inform TV audience about the political affiliation of audiovisual media. We consider the situation prevailing over the past two months due to inability of the National Council to get a quorum, is dangerous. This situation poses a threat to the whole audiovisual landscape of Ukraine, as the National Council not only can not extend the temporary permits for broadcasting in the near-front and occupied territories, which expires in the coming month, but it can’t properly respond to the violation of legislation during the election campaign.
The Media movement calls on the Security Service of Ukraine to thoroughly examine the sources and methods of funding television channels that can be directly or indirectly linked to the aggressor state and act to undermine the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and in case of violations, to take all measures to stop such subversive activities.
We urge the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, MPs of Ukraine and other politicians not to participate in the programs of the TV channels of the Victor Medvedchuk group and thereby not legitimize them in the information space, as well as to recall their election declarations as to ceasing to influence politics by means of the media resource and as to the necessity to conduct an effective information warfare.
We call on the Ukrainian authorities to implement the previously announced de-oligarchization of mass media, to establish an efficacious mechanisms for limiting media ownership, effective mechanisms for transparency of media financing, and effective methods for controlling media financing, especially from sources that may be related to the country- aggressor.
On the 5th of February, several Ukraine TV channels, radio companies, printed press outlets and web-based editions and media NGOs launched the media initiative aimed to ensure for Ukraine citizens the possibility to elect the head of state and the parliament on the ground of complete and trustful information.
The first signatories of the media movement memorandum were: UA: Pershy, Ukraynske Radio, Hromadske radio, Ukrinform, Interfax-Ukraine, Liga.net, Dzerkalo tyzhdnya weekly, Novoe Vrema daily, Censor.net, The 5th TV channel, Ukrayinsky Tyzhden, Opinion, several regional mass media, Independent media council, Detektor Media, The Institute of mass information, Internews Ukraine, Center for democracy and rule of law, Souspilinist Foundation, Independent association of TV and radio broadcasters, The Donetsk institute of information, The Institute of democracy named of Pylyp Orlyk and other media institutions and individual journalists, in total 70 members adhered the media initiative.