Ukrainian NGOs support sanctions against Kozak, TV channels

Ukrainian NGOs support sanctions against Kozak, TV channels

A number of Ukrainian NGOs have issued a statement stressing that the decision to impose sanctions against Taras Kozak and a number of TV channels was not an attack on the freedom of speech.

According to Ukrinform, a joint statement by ten Ukrainian organizations was published on the website of the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

"We, the representatives of Ukrainian civil society and expert community countering disinformation, insist that sanctions imposed on Taras Kozak, legal owner of TV channels 112 [Ukraine], ZIK and NewsOne, and legal entities linked to him, by the decree of President Volodymyr Zelensky on February 2, 2021 to implement the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, do not constitute an attack on the freedom of speech," the statement reads.

These channels constitute tools of foreign influence operations and therefore pose a systemic treat to Ukraine's information security, the statement said.

According to the Ukrainian President's Office, the TV channels are funded from the Russian Federation, which has been illegally occupying Crimea and territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions for seven years, consistently promote Kremlin disinformation, have repeatedly supported Russian aggression against Ukraine, and do not apply the principles of the freedom of speech and journalistic standards in their work.

"Considering all of the above, 112, ZIK and NewsOne cannot be considered genuine media intending to provide objective and unbiased information for the good of the public; they behave as tools of malign influence operations aimed to smuggle narratives of Kremlin propaganda under the mask of 'domestic' Ukrainian media. Limiting their activities in Ukraine is a step towards enhancing information security of the Ukrainian state, especially vital during the ongoing Russian aggression against it," the statement reads.

The statement was signed by the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, the InformNapalm International Volunteer Community, Detector Media, StopFake, the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies, the Prometheus Security Environment Research Center, the Ukrainian Prism Foreign Policy Council, VoxCheck, the Center for Defense Reforms, and Euromaidan Press

On February 2, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky enacted the decision of the National Security and Defense Council to impose sanctions against television channels NewsOne, ZIK and 112 Ukraine, as well as their owner, Taras Kozak, an MP from the Opposition Platform – For Life party. The sanctions, among other things, revoke the licenses of these pro-Russian TV channels. The broadcasting of NewsOne, ZIK and 112 Ukraine was blocked as of the morning of February 3.


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