On August 30, 2019 State Investigation Agency (SIA) followed by the team of Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) searched the premises of Public Broadcast Company (PBC) and the dwelling of Chairman of the Board, Zurab Alasania.
According to the SIA, they are pursuing investigation activities for pre-trial criminal proceeding regarding the possible illegal actions of PBC executive officers, namely, “Abuse of office with the intention to obtain an unlawful benefit for oneself or other persons/entities.” PBC have mentioned that the company’s incumbents “agreed volunteerly to submit all the materials and documents to the law enforcers, that had been done for several hours.”
Media Movement is concerned by the fact of criminal proceeding, because currently, Public Broadcaster is the only media group not being in the ownership of oligarchs and has been working exceptionally for the benefit of Ukrainian people. Thus, according to the regular monitoring by NGO “Detector Media” and the Elections Monitoring by several media NGOS with the support of Council of Europe, UA:The First is the only TV channel that has not spread biased content and stood its independent ground during this year elections.
We are urging the investigation offices to avoid any actions that can be considered by society and international community as a pressure on independent media. We are emphasizing on unacceptability of any actions that prevent the broadcaster’s regular activity, including its live air or content production. Considering a social significance of the issue, we are also appealing to the investigation offices for providing more information and justification of why the cases belong to accountability of SIA and SSU.
We share the opinion that under all circumstances the editorial policy of Public Broadcaster should remain independent and free from intrusions of state institutions, political and business groups; whereas the financial policy and economic activity should be transparent.
The notice is supported by:
- Media Movement “Media for Aware Choice”
- Detector Media
- Hromadske Radio
- Radio NV
- Institute of Mass Information
- Internews Ukraine
- Institute for Regional Press Development
- Information Campaign “On the Other Side of News”
- Center for Human Rights “ZMINA”
- The Academy of Ukrainian Press
- Independent Association of TV and Radio Broadcasters
- Donetsk Institute of Information
- Center for Democracy and Rule of Law
- Foundation “Suspilnist”