Ukrainian Media Complained About the Lack of Freedom of Speech Under Poroshenko

Translated by Ollie Richardson


Authors of an open letter appealed to the heads of diplomatic missions of the US and European countries for the organisation of a round table under the name “Day of Unfreedom of Speech in Ukraine”.

Leaders and editors of many Ukrainian media agencies urged the leader of the country Petro Poroshenko and diplomatic missions of European countries and the US to stop the destruction of freedom of speech in the State. The open letter was published on the website of “Era media” group.

“The level of threat to freedom of speech in Ukraine has reached a critical point. <…> The use of physical force against our colleagues, arsons of publications, arrests, searches, attacks by paramilitary forces, attacks by armies of Internet bots, and pressure from law enforcement, fiscal, and other agencies is an incomplete list of ‘arguments’ of the authorities in dialogue with the media,” it is noted in the statement.

The authors of the appeal urge to protect the value of freedom of speech, without which “there can’t be Ukrainian democracy”, and demand to withdraw the authorities of the National Council of TV and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine, considering that “the obligations of this body have come down to censorship, continuous unscheduled inspections, blackmail concerning the extension of licenses, and so on”.

Also, the General-Prosecutor must publicly report on the investigation into criminal cases about crimes against journalists and also verify the facts of pressure being put on media employees, it is said in the address.

“We appeal to leaders of the diplomatic missions of the US and the European countries in Ukraine for the organisation of a round table under the auspices of the United States Congress, PACE, the Council of Europe, and European Parliament under the name “Day of Unfreedom of Speech in Ukraine,” it is noted in the text.

The appeal is signed by the CEO of ZIK media holding, the head of the News One TV channel, the first deputy Director General of the “112 Ukraine” TV channel, the managing director of “Era media”, etc. The letter is open to the signatures of other media employees, deputies, and public figures.

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According to the published letter, over the past year public organisations in Ukraine have documented nearly 300 facts of the violation of freedom of speech, about 100 of which are attacks on journalists.

In November, 2017, radicals in military uniforms blockaded the NewsOne TV channel in Kiev. Yulia Tymoshenko said that the channel was blocked according to the “instructions” of the Ukrainian President.

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