Channel 5 Journalists to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights


Following Ukraine’s High Administrative Court’s rejection of the cassation appeal over broadcasting frequencies lodged by the TV channels Channel 5, TVi and STB, Channel 5’s team has decided to apply to the European Court of Human Rights and issued a statement of protest.

The letter explains that the judgment issued by the High Administrative Court on 26 January which upheld earlier rulings, first on 8 June 2010, then 30 August that year, has stripped Channel 5, TVi, STB and 14 other TV companies of the right to broadcast with the frequencies awarded on 27 January 2010.

The judgment, the Channel 5 team believe, “runs counter to assurances by the Ukrainian authorities of the importance given to freedom of speech and democracy in Ukraine and disregards numerous comments from authoritative international journalist and human rights organizations such as Reporters without Borders; the International Federation of Journalists, the Association of European Journalists; Article 19; Human Rights Watch; the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) regarding the illegitimacy of actions aimed at reducing freedom of speech n Ukraine.

The High Administrative Court of Ukraine has provided the worst model of dependence on the political will of those who do not want freedom of speech in Ukraine and has restricted the right of the country’s citizens to free access to information.”

The letter goes on to cite some of the expressions of concern expressed by influential European institutions, such as a statement from the OSCE Media Freedom Representative on 13 October 2010; the European Parliament’s Resolution on Ukraine and the PACE Resolution on the Functioning of Democracy in Ukraine from 5 October 2010.

The journalists warn that the judgment of the High Administrative Court will not only do irreparable damage to the country’s image in the world, but will seriously cloud Ukraine’s European prospects since it runs counter to decisions from the institutional bodies of the European Union.

The statement, in Ukrainian, is posted in full here 

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