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09.06.2010

TVi accuse Head of SBU of abusing his official position and demand an investigation

   

Journalists from the television channel TVi are demanding the creation of an independent parliamentary commission to investigate alleged abuse of his official position by Valery Khoroshkovsky.  The latter is Head of Ukraine’s Security Service [SBU] and member of the High Council of Justice, while also having very strong connections with the Inter Media holding company. They are also demanding public control over the formation of the National Television and Broadcasting Council to prevent the appointment of lobbyists of clan interests.

Their statement begins by fully endorsing that made by journalists from Channel 5 the day before the Kyiv District Administrative Court allowed an application from the Inter Media holding group and stripped them of the frequencies awarded in a tender on 27 January.

Both statements suggest that the Head of the SBU is trying to destroy independent media.  In response to the Channel 5 allegations, Mr Khoroshkovsky demanded proof of the allegations.  This TVi says they are offering.

“As is known from the media, Valery Khoroshkovsky is the owner of the Inter Media Group, and his wife heads this Group. He is already the Head of the SBU and a member of the High Council of Justice which influences the fate of each judge. That is a direct and undisguised conflict of interests.

The SBU, headed by Khoroshkovsky, has unlawfully interfered in the work of the independent regulatory body – the National Television and Broadcasting Council, demanding that the Council provide documents on the tender.

These documents then appeared in court and were presented by companies of the Inter Media Group. The companies themselves did not approach the Broadcasting Council. “

“We assert that Valery Khoroshkovsky has a clear conflict of interests which is leading him to use his official position in the interests of one media group which is trying to monopolize the market in an unlawful way, and misleading the court.”

The statement notes that the tender stipulated that television organizations may apply who aim to create the technical conditions for equality of competition. They state that according to a letter from the Anti-Monopoly Committee, the receiving of licences by large media holdings such as the Inter Media Group could change the situation on the market and adversely affect competition. “The Anti-Monopoly Committee recommended taking its information into account during the tender to avoid monopolization.”

It points out that the Inter Group was, nonetheless, allocated 20 frequencies which Khoroshkovsky said that it had rejected. TVi states that a representative of the Group in court on 2 June, asked whether they had rejected the frequencies, said that the Broadcasting Council had not accepted this and that after the court case, the Council would decide. The statement suggests that Khoroshkovsky was not honest.

It notes various procedural infringements which it believes shows that the court was not impartial.

Panels of judges must be made up according to automatic rotation, whereas the judges in this case were chosen “by hand!”  Such a judge should himself ask to be removed from the case which did not happen.

They list a number of other infringements involving the parties’ being informed and present during proceedings and others.

They demand the creation of an independent parliamentary commission to investigate abuse of his official position by Valery Khoroshkovsky, Head of the SBU and member of the High Council of Justice for his own business interests. They ask that he be suspended while the investigation is underway from both posts.

They also seek public control over the formation of the National Television and Broadcasting Council to prevent the appointment of lobbyists of clan interests

They demand an end to the use of the judicial system in order to destroy the independent media in Ukraine.

They hope for the support of Ukrainian society and the journalist community in protecting the country from flagrant pressure from oligarchs in public posts.  The appeal was signed by 26 journalists.

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