OSCE calls on Ukrainian authorities to refrain from sanctions against 112.Ukraine, NewsOne TV channels without adherence to legal procedure
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, expressed his deep concern today about a decision by Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, that calls for sanctions against two Ukrainian television channels, which would eventually terminate their activities.
"I would like to reiterate that freedom of expression and freedom of the media are fundamental commitments of the OSCE participating States, which should be respected and fulfilled," said Désir.
According to him, any restrictions imposed on these rights, including in the name of protecting national security or countering propaganda, should be strictly limited in scope, proportional, and provide for adequate safeguards against abuse through an independent court system.
"I am deeply concerned about any future decision of terminating or potentially blocking the regular functioning of media in Ukraine," he said.
The Representative recalled that the best and most effective mechanism to neutralize the impact of propaganda is the existence of an open, diverse and dynamic media environment, and if propaganda amounts to incitement to hatred and violence, proper and proportionate measures may be applied using available judicial and human rights instruments.
"I call on the Ukrainian authorities to refrain from taking disproportionately restrictive measures toward the media without following the proper judicial procedures, which would adversely impact the free flow and access to information, and impede the expression of diversity of opinions," said Désir.
As reported, on October 4, 2018, the Rada recommended the NSDC impose sanctions against companies included in the holdings of the 112.Ukraine and NewsOne TV channels.
Corresponding resolution (No. 9157) was approved by 229 parliament deputies during a plenary Rada session.
According to the resolution, sanctions should apply to Ariadna TV LLC, Novy Format TV LLC, TV Vybir LLC, Teleradiokompaniya 112-TV LLC, Lider TV LLC, Partner TV LLC and Novyny 24 Hodyny LLC.
According to information on the TV channels' websites, Novyny 24 Hodyny LLC is listed among the owners of NewsOne. The remaining six legal entities are included among the holdings of 112.Ukraine.