Ukraine: Media regulator revokes digital licences of independent TV channel

The National Television and Radio broadcasting council of Ukraine, the media regulatory authority, has revoked all digital licences granted to independent broadcaster Channel 112. 

This picture taken on July 13, 2019 shows a microphone laying in front of the "112 Ukraine" tv channel building, after it was attacked around 3:40 am by an unknown person with a grenade-launcher in Kiev. A grenade launcher fired at the building of a Ukrainian television channel on July 13, 2019 after it announced plans to air a controversial documentary featuring Russian President Vladimir Putin. SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) joined their affiliate the National Union of Journalists in Ukraine (NUJU) in condemning a decision that threatens press freedom and the livelihood of hundreds of media workers.

On 26 September, the Ukrainian media regulator revoked the digital licences of the 5 television companies belonging to Channel 112.  According to the regulator, they had violated the programming concept of broadcasting for several years, despite the fact that they had been warne

Channel 112, which has often being critical of the Ukrainian government, was purchased in 2018 by Taras Kozak, a close ally of pro-russian  politician Viktor Medvedchuk.

In a statement published on its web site  Channel 112 international editorial board called the regulator’s decision "illegal", "politically motivated " and  causing "further pressure on the rights of the journalists and restriction of the freedom of speech in Ukraine" The channel intends to challenge the decision in court.

On its website the channel has advised its audience that it remained accessible on satellite, cable networks and YouTube.   

The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) president Sergiy Tomilenko sees the regulator's decision as "an attempt to restrict freedom of speech in Ukraine and impose censorship

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "The decision to revoke Channel 112's licence is unjustified. We demand the regulator to lift this decision immediately. Ukraine deserves free media and any attempt to silence different voices seriously undermines democracy". 

On 13 July, two unidentified persons targeted Channel 112's office in Kyiv, using a grenade launcher. The incident caused damage to the facade and nearby parked cars, but didn’t injure anyone.

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

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

Follow the IFJ on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Subscribe to IFJ News