Ukraine: Calls to stop media threats

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today called on the Ukrainian authorities to stop the persecution of an independent TV channel and its leading journalists.

The call, in a letter to the Ukrainian government, comes amid a crackdown on media freedom in the country and ongoing attacks on 3S.TV and its founder Savik Shuster.

The station was established after Shuster Live, one of Ukraine’s leading TV current affairs shows, was effectively banned from virtually all networks and in one case was pulled from air just 10 minutes before broadcast.

Since its launch in 2015, 3S.TV, which is funded by donations from civil society organisations and small businesses, has been subjected to persecution and attacks, culminating in the withdrawal of Savik Shuster’s right to work as a result of what the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine calls a “fabricated criminal case”.

Following a feature on the State Tax Service of Ukraine, Savik Shuster and the company were subjected to unscheduled tax inspections and his right to work was withdrawn – a decision the courts subsequently overturned. The Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine called the decision a “violation of ILO Convention 87”.

The "Savik Shuster studio", has also come in for some criticism in Ukraine from politicians, media experts and civil society representatives relating to the selection of the guests and topics of the programs. However, this does not mean that Savik Shuster or anyone else should be deprived of the right to practice journalism, enjoy freedom of expression or have the right to present different points of view.

The NUJU and various media NGOs have documented a growing number of violations of media rights and have now issued a strong call to the international community to support their campaign to stop pressure, persecutions and repressions on 3S.TV, independent media and journalists in Ukraine.

NUJU First Secretary Sergiy Tomilenko emphasized: "Despite all the criticism, "Savik Shuster" platform is the number one political talk, which gathers pro-government and opposition politicians. We welcome the decision of the courts of Ukraine, which prove the unlawfulness of the revocation of work permit of the author and host of the talk show "Shuster live", Savik Shuster.

IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: “This case is a flagrant violation of the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and independent journalism. Having failed to censor the station and force it off air the opponents of free speech have now resorted to fabricated tax cases to attempt to silence criticism. Through our solidarity we will ensure that does not happen.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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