Letter to the Ambassadors of the G20 countries, EU countries, the PAE, EU and US leadership

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Interfactional Parliamentary Association
«For the Protection of Violated Rights of
For the Protection of Violated Rights of
                    «Forbidden to Forbid»                     

Your Excellency,

On behalf of the Interfactional Parliamentary Association “For the Protection of Violated Rights of Citizens and Against Political Repression “Forbidden to Forbid” I present you our compliments. With this we inform you about the critical situation on matters relating to the freedom of expression in Ukraine.

Over the past four years, The Interfactional Parliamentary Association “Forbidden to Forbid” conducted permanent monitoring of the status of freedom of expression and human rights in Ukraine.

We have repeatedly reported about the permanent attacks on freedom of expression and human rights carried out by the authorities. There is an atmosphere of public hysteria and hatred against the freedom of expression of the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs. It is permanently formed by pro-governmental political and business clans via mass media, bloggers and popular social network representatives under the State authorities control.

Appropriate letters in this regard had been circulated to the EU Delegation in Ukraine, the Ambassadors of the G20 countries, the Council of Europe and other international authorities. Unfortunately, we are compelled to conclude the absence of any response to our situation.

The law enforcement agencies are unable or unwilling to protect professional journalists against a number of risks currently existing in Ukraine. Life and health of media representatives are being threatened.

In this respect, to understand fully the extent of the threat, one should only recall the following statements:

  • Over the past year, public organizations recorded almost 300 facts of violation of the right to freedom of expression, whereas about 100 attacks against journalists.
  • The resonant murders of well-known and influential journalists Pavel Sheremeta and Oles Buzina still remain unresolved.
  • The Head of one of the largest Ukrainian Internet-edition – “Country.UA”, Igor Guzhva was forced to request political asylum in Austria.
  • There are constantly searches of the media editorial offices, as well as the apartments of editors and journalists (“Hromadske Radio” (“Public Radio”), “Vesti”, “Strana.UA”, “1+1 media”).
  • The authorities use fiscal authorities to force the media, interfering with its normal functioning (“1+1 media”).
  • Particular attention should be given to The National Council on Television and Radio:
    • Over recent years this structure has become a censor and a classic raider. There are created special conditions for “wrong” media, therefore they simply have to be sold or transferred to other owners. The same destiny befell the old Ukrainian analytical-talk radio station “Radio Era”.
    • The National Council has turned into a repressive authority, which is completely under the control of the Administration of the President of Ukraine. The information about the National Council activity and its management team was disclosed due to the leak from the private mailbox of the Chairman of the National Council Yuri Artemenko. This scandal was called “Artemenko.Leaks”.

In response to this situation, top managers of a number of popular All-Ukrainian media (“Era Media”, “ZIK” TV channel, “NewsOne” TV channel, “112 Ukraine” TV channel, “Strana.UA”, “Petr and Mazepa”, “Radio Vesti”, “K1” TV channel), regional journalists, as well as representatives of public organizations (inter alia, The Interfactional Parliamentary Association “Forbidden to Forbid”) appealed to the President, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Prosecutor General, the Prime Minister, as well as diplomats from European countries and the USA.

This appeal indicates that the level of threat to freedom of expression in Ukraine raised to critical. The text of the appeal is attached to this letter.

The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine together with the International Federation of Journalists reacted to this appeal by holding a public discussion “Threats to freedom of expression in Ukraine”. Following that discussion, the journalism community supported the appeal and adopted a Resolution with a demand to cease pressure on the Ukrainian media. The text of the Resolution is also attached to this letter.

Such policy of the authorities should not be neglected by the European Union, the United States and entire world. It contravenes the universally recognized dictums, democratic values and principles of humanism. We sincerely hope for your understanding and support as we struggle for freedom of expression and human rights in Ukraine.

For further information about the work of The Interfactional Parliamentary Association and the observance of human rights in Ukraine please follow the link http://ftf.org.ua

 

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