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Former ZIK journalists and media NGOs call to prevent Russian occupation of Ukraine media landscape

01.07.2019, 16:19
  The former journalists for ZIK TV channel, Ukraine media NGOs, media experts and journalists called Ukrainian nation’s leadership and the law enforcement bodies to prevent the use of Ukrainian TV channels aiming to promote pro-Kremlin propaganda and creeping occupation of the media landscape by Russia. The “Detektor Media” published the integral text of this statement. Statement of former ZIK journalists and media NGOs call to prevent Russian occupation of Ukrainian media landscapeWe call leadership of the state and the law enforcement agencies to prevent usage of the Ukranian TV channels for dissemination of pro-Kremlin propaganda, and to stop creeping Russian occupation of the Ukrainian media landscape.  Taras Kozak - close ally and business partner of one of the leaders of the political party "Opposition platform - For life" (OPFL) Victor Medvedchuk - has officially become an owner of ZIK TV channel, news agency and ZIK web-site. Earlier this year, Mr. Kozak has bought another two news channels: "112 Ukraine" and NewsOne. Combined with "Inter", controlled by another founders of pro-Russian "Opposition platform - For life" political party, these broadcasters form a powerful media resource, and their owners discuss possibility to purchase even more media assets. Victor Medvedchuk is well known for consistently promoting Russian interest in Ukraine  ( ) Among other tools, for this purpose, he uses censorship and manipulation of the media resources  being under his control, which has been confirmed by numerous monitoring surveys held by independent media watchdogs ( UKR: ). Mr. Medvedchuk and his political force do not hide their intention to bring Ukraine back to the circle of Russian political and economic influence. For this, this media resource is used as an instrument to make pressure onto Ukrainian government and to shape supportive public opinion. Mr. Medvedchuk`s image as a "peacemaker" and irreplaceable negotiator between Ukraine and Russia is to a large extent created by the media that are either loyal to his political force  - "Opposition platform - For life" (OPFL) - or these ones controlled by its founders. Systematic monitorings held by “Detector Media” NGO confirm that the programs of “112 Ukraine” and “NewsOne” almost word-by-word were repeating propagandistic messages broadcasted by Russian federal media (UKR: From the very first days the owner was changed, his influence on ZIK was obvious. Tetiana Danilenko`s show that criticized Mr. Medvedchuk has been taken off the air and deleted from ZIK`s official YouTube channel. The journalists claimed that so called "stop lists" of the persons who were banned to be invited to the programs was introduced. OPFL officials became key commenters of all the important events. Channel broadcasts some fake sociological polls held by non-existing pollsters. They put into the channel`s lineup several programs featuring OPFL candidates Nestor Shufrich and Illya Kyva, political strategist Vasyl Apasov and proxy presidential candidate Yulia Lytvynenko as anchorpersons and main protagonists at the same time. This alone violates the article 59 of the Law on TV and radio broadcasting, which obliges TV channels to provide an objective information. New management puts pressure on journalists and demands reframing of informational messages so they are consistent with those of Russian propaganda. We consider this the beginning of censorship on TV channel ("prevention to free flow of information any other form" article 24 of the Law of Ukraine on information). The ZIK journalists are well familiar with Mr. Medvedchuk`s record of introducing total censorship of media under his control in early 2000-ies. Together with media experts and journalist colleagues, they observed the program policy of “112 Ukraine “and “NewsOne”, which was focused during the presidential campaign on promotion of interest of one political force - OPFL. For the above reasons, ZIK show presenters and journalists decided to quit the job after change of the ownership. This is the biggest number of people who willingly left their jobs in the history of Ukrainian media. We, the journalists who willingly left Medvedchuk`s media group, and participants of the Media Movement, non-government organizations supporting this statement express our protest against creeping Russian occupation of the Ukranian media landscape. We call on the president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy to finally define his position on information intervention of Russia to the Ukranian media space and introduction of censorship on the media resources controlled by pro-Кussian politicians. We call on the president and his team and in particular, future members of parliament, -  to introduce effective mechanisms that would demonopolize TV space, guarantee transparency of financing, editorial independence and protection from owners` dictate. We also call them to support independent public broadcaster. We call on National council on TV and Radio Broadcasting to thoroughly control compliance of content of ZIK, “NewsOne” and “112Ukraine “TV channels with Ukrainian legislation and conditions under which their broadcasting licenses have been issued. We call on Security Service of Ukraine to answer if funds originating from the country-aggressor were used to purchase media assets, posing a potential threat to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Shall this confirm, we demand to take all the necessary measures to stop this process. We call on public opinion leaders - politicians, civic activists, experts, artists - to avoid participation in programs of the media controlled by Victor Medvedchuk. We call on Ukrainian journalists to unite against transformation of the Ukrainian media to the field offices of Kremlin propagandistic machine. We believe that Ukrainian journalists, regardless of their views and beliefs, will not become a tool in the hands of politicians whose goal is to put end to Ukraine`s independence. Vakhtang Kipiani, presenter of the program “Historical truth” Bohdan Mashai, presenter Leyla Mamedova, presenter Alina Mazur, executive editor Zoya Prykhodko, chief technical officer Tetiana Danilenko, presenter Olha Movchan, head of own TV programs production department Tetiana Vergeles, editor-in-chief of ZIK information agency and creative team Kseniya Smirnova, presenter Oksana Loik, journalist Hanna Bechke, regional editor Yevgenia Taganovich, news presenter Yevgeniya Tereshchenko, executive editor Andriana Kucher, presenter Natalia Shostak, editor Roman Nedzielskiy, news service chief editor Olena Loskun, journalist Iryna Kovalenko, journalist Mariam Al Khassan Ali, journalist Oleksandra Gutnik, second editor Anastasia Usenko, journalist Victoria Kovtsun, journalist Anton Kotsukon, journalist Mykhaylo Kukin, executive editor Iryna Shynkar, second editor Roman Kovalyuk, cameraman Petro Kolodiy, director Bohdan Ilchyshyn, director Oleksander Takhootin, executive editor Tetyana Kuzminchuk, journalist Darya Denys, journalist Vladyslav Maystruk, producer Ostap Havrylyuk, sound director Yuriy Vitruk, editing director Volodymyr Molodiy, journalist Iryna Hlavatska, executive editor Nataliya Borska, projects chief-editor Olena Klymenko, second editor Andriy Snizhko, analyst Viktoriya Maydanyk, chief editor of news and analytical department Pavlo Kruglyakovsky, presenter Olena Bondarenko,editor Andriy Rolyuk, cameraman Volodymyr Rolyuk, cameraman Olha Kisil, executive editor, Lviv Vira Labych, journalist Burbil Hanna, journalist Iryna Hlavatska, editor Kostyantyn Chaykovsky, script writer Yuliya Maleyeva, journalist Antonyuk Vasyl, TV cameraman Pavlo Sokolovsky, sound director Nataliya Pyrtyk, journalist Hanna Martushchuk, journalist Khrystyna Letyahyna, line producer Hanna Bezugla, journalist Tetyana Havrylyuk, journalist Oksana Vysochanska, executive editor Natalya LAzarovych, journalist Viktoria Matskovych, journalist Volodymyr Karpenko, cameraman Yuliya Bundz, journalist Nazar Melnykh, cameraman   The statement supported by: MediaMovement Reanimation Package of Reforms Reanimation Package of Reforms Media group NGO Institute of Mass Information, Oksana Romaniuk NGO Detector Media, Natalia Ligachova NGO Internews Ukraine, Otar Dovzhenko Suspilnist foundation, Taras Petriv Center for democracy and rule of law Institute for Development of the Regional Press , Kostyantyn Kvurt Pylyp Orlyk Democracy Institute, Svitlana Ostapa Ilko Kucheriv’s Democratic initiatives foundation Committee of voters of Ukraine NGO “Environment-People-Law” NGO Ukrinform news agency Ukraine crisis media center “Together against corruption” Zhyttya NGO Ukraine foundation of public health Oksana Romanyuk Nataliya Lyhachova Otar Dovzhenko Taras Petriv Svitlana Ostapa Vadym Miskyy Kostyantyn Kvurt Svitlana Yeremenko Taras Shevc henko Ludmyla Pankratova Oleh Khomenok Ihor Rozkladay Yaryna Yasynevych Antonina Cherevko Oleksiy Bratushchak
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