Closure of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels incompatible with international human rights standards, – UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission
It is noted that media plays a crucial role in any democracy and its capacity to operate should not be unduly restricted and journalists should not be penalized for carrying out legitimate activities
UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission states that the decision to shut down 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels contradicts international human rights standards. This was reported by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission.
“Measures such as censoring of broadcasting for reasons that go beyond Articles 20 (2) of the ICCPR are not only incompatible with international human rights law but also contribute to amplifying misperceptions, fostering fear and entrenching public mistrust of institutions,” the statement reads.
It is noted that media plays a crucial role in any democracy and its capacity to operate should not be unduly restricted and journalists should not be penalized for carrying out legitimate activities.
In line with international human rights standards, non-violent criticism of the State or its policies cannot serve as grounds for restricting freedom of expression.
I addition, it was emphasized that the procedure used for restricting expression, blocking orders should follow all procedural guarantees set out in international human rights law.
“I note with concern that the decision to restrict the right to information was not taken by an independent and impartial body. I am further concerned that the decision does not appear to provide clear indications of the threats posed by the programmes aired by the three television channels. I would like to recall that the use of national security and counter-terrorism as justifications to restrict the right to freedom of expression, without meeting the strict threshold established by article 19 (3) of the ICCPR, would be incompatible with Ukraine’s obligations under international human rights law,” the document reads.
On February 2, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on the imposition of sanctions against 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK TV channels. According to the decree, which came into force from the moment of signing, sanctions were applied to TV channels for five years. This provides for blocking the broadcasting of all three TV channels.
On February 26, journalists of the TV channels illegally closed by President Volodymyr Zelensky united and created a new TV channel – Pershiy Nezalezhniy. The founders of the new media are a group of journalists who previously worked on the 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK channels. However, within an hour after the start of broadcasting, Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel was illegally turned off under pressure from the authorities.
Leading European politicians, international and Ukrainian experts and the world media criticized Zelensky’s decree on the closure of the TV channels 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK.
Over the past four months, the world media, European politicians and experts have published more than 70,000 materials on the persecution of the opposition and independent TV channels by the Ukrainian authorities.