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UN found decision to suspend Medvedchuk's TV channels contrary to international human rights standards

02.06.2021, 20:56
Slovo i Dilo/ ZIK
Slovo i Dilo/ ZIK

United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission found decision of the National Council for Security and Defense (NCSD) to switch off the TV channels from the sphere of influence of Viktor Medvedchuk as such that is contrary to the international human rights standards. This is said in the new update of the UN Monitoring Mission on human rights in Ukraine as of May 31, as “Detektor Media” reported.

“On 2 February, the President of Ukraine signed a decree of the National Council for Security and Defence, imposing sanctions against Taras Kozak and his eight companies, which resulted in the closure of three television channels (112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK) which are perceived as pro-Russian. This decision is contrary to international human rights standards, as it lacks justification of its necessity and proportionality, and was not taken by an independent authority”.

Also, the UN Mission found that four bills submitted to the parliament aiming to introduce punishment for “collaboration” with enemy state raise concerns, since they are not abiding with freedom of expression.

“Four draft laws registered in Parliament (No. 2549 of 6 December 2019, 6 No. 5135 of 23 February 2021, No. 5143 and No. 5144 of 24 February 2021), aiming to punish “collaborationism” with a hostile power also raise concerns, as they do not appear to be in line with international standards on freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association. They could further have a negative impact on reconciliation and social cohesion”.

“Detektor Media” reported that MPs from “Servant for the People” had submitted the drafts law # 5143 and 5144 on establishing of criminal liability for collaborationism.

Another edition of the bill on criminal liability for collaborationism with Russia was submitted as well by MPs from “European Solidarity”.

As IMI reported, on February 2, the head of state enacted the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of February 2, 2021 "On the application of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions)", which provides for the introduction of sanctions against the people for five years MP Taras Kozak and legal entities licensed by 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels.

On February 2, 112 Ukraine, ZIK, and NewsOne said they viewed the sanctions as a political crackdown and would fight for the right to continue broadcasting.

 On February 3, several NGOs and experts said that sanctions against Medvedchuk's TV channels, namely “112 Ukraina”, NewsOne and ZIK,  did not pose threat to freedom of speech, since they were employed as tools of foreign influence and repeatedly threatened Ukraine's information security. This is said in a joint statement published on February 3 by the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center.

On February 3, the United States supported Ukraine's sanctions against Russian influence.

The head of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, Serhiy Tomilenko, called the sanctions against 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK "a crackdown on freedom of speech" on his Facebook page . He said the union would alert the International Federation of Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists and the OSCE Office for Media Freedom about this measure.

On February 3, the International and European Federations of Journalists have condemned the sanctions targeting the TV channels related to the MP from the OPFL Viktor Medvedchuk. The organization called the measures an "an extra-judicial and politically motivated ban and a blatant attack on press freedom that must be urgently reversed".

On February 6, Media Movement (Media Rukh) supported sanctions, but urged not to persecute its employees.

On February 9, it became known that the regional organizations of the National Union of Journalists jointly stated that they did not share the opinion of Serhiy Tomilenko, the head of the National Union of Journalists , who criticized the application of sanctions to 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK.

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