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 landscape
We 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 (https://en.hromadske.ua/posts/putins-friend-medvedchuk-reenters-ukrainian-politics ) 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: https://ms.detector.media/ethics/standards/112_tsitat_viktora_medvedchuka/ ).
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: https://ms.detector.media/monitoring/advocacy_and_influence/zelenskiy_tak_zelenskiy/)
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 …in 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
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:
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
Ukrinform news agency
Ukraine crisis media center
“Together against corruption”
Ukraine foundation of public health
Taras Shevc henko