“Strana” turned to international organizations to protect itself from the arbitrariness of the authorities. Text message
“Strana” appealed to international organizations and journalistic associations in relation to the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to impose sanctions against the editor-in-chief and block access to the site on the territory of Ukraine.
Here is the text of the appeal in Russian and English.
“Strange” is one of the largest Ukrainian Internet media, created in 2016. We are one of the three leading news sites in Ukraine. According to SimilarWeb, the number of visitors to our site exceeds 24 million per month.
For more than five years we have defended our right to free speech, regularly publishing inquiries, interviews, reports that the current government did not like. In the beginning, it was the power of former president Petro Poroshenko. Today, the center of our attention is Zelensky and his team.
As in one case and another, the authorities do not like our well-founded criticisms and anti-corruption disclosures. Poroshenko systematically invented criminal cases against us and, as a result, put editor-in-chief Igor Guzhva in prison. After Igor Guzhva was released, he was forced to seek political asylum in Austria. In 2018, Igor Guzhva was granted asylum.
That is, the European country has confirmed the political nature of the persecution.
The war of annihilation continued under the new government.
And if Poroshenko invented criminal cases against Internet publication and incited law enforcement, then Zelensky chose a different method.
On August 20, 2021, with the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, he included editor-in-chief Igor Guzhva and Strana publishing house in the sanctions list. What led to the blocking of our site on the territory of Ukraine. This is a direct violation of the Constitution and the Law on Sanctions, which do not provide for the application of sanctions to Ukrainian citizens without a court decision.
Furthermore, the media are not subject to the sanctions law at all. In reality, this is an out-of-court retaliation against independent media. An attempt to destroy the largest publication ordered by the authorities.
Furthermore, even before the presidential decree on sanctions was issued, which would have given a formal basis for the application of restrictive measures, by order of the authorities, the strana.ua domain name and access to it on the territory of Ukraine have been blocked. Therefore, without a court decision, without at least the filing of charges and evidence of involvement in any of the crimes, access to one of the largest online media in Ukraine was effectively banned.
This is an unprecedented arbitrary act by the authorities against journalists. Under such conditions, we hope for the help of the international community in preserving the values of free speech in Ukraine. We ask you to influence the Ukrainian authorities so that the pressure on our publication and journalists stops and our site can restore full-fledged work.
Editing of the Internet newspaper “Strana”.