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03.07.2010

TVi writes to Hillary Clinton over threats to freedom of speech and the media

   

TV Channel TVi has addressed an open letter to the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, presently visiting Ukraine. In it they complain of systematic attempts to destroy free media outlets and of monopolization of the media.

As reported, on 8 June the District Administrative Court in Kyiv annulled the results of the tender for broadcasting licenses held by the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council on 27 January.  The official claimants were the TV companies NTN, Enter Film, and Enter Music which are all part of the Inter Media Group, very closely connected with Valery Khoroshkovsky, Head of the Security Service [SBU] and his wife.

The letter in full

Dear Secretary of State,

The TVi team would like to draw your attention to systematic attempts to destroy free media outlets and of monopolization of the media by members of the new regime. We are seeking to develop independent information broadcasting in the country; we have our own traditions and achievements.

We won an honest tender carried out by the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council in order to extend our broadcasting. However after the victory of Viktor Yanukovych in the president elections, a question mark has been placed over the results of this tender.  The opponents have proved to be television channels whose owner is the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine [SBU] and member of the High Council of Justice, Valery Khoroshkovsky.

We consider that it was due to his pressure that an unlawful court ruling was passed annulling the results of the tender and that the prospects for our channel’s development have been put in doubt. We believe that we are dealing not only with conflict of interests of an official who is at the same time a media magnate, but that we are witnessing the monopolization of television in order to prevent the broadcasting of negative information about the actions of the authorities and to limit access of the opposition to airtime.

We are told that politics has nothing to do with it, that this is a conflict of media owners. That was how they deceived our Russian colleagues 10 years ago when they destroyed the best television channels in Russia. We do not want a repetition of the Russian scenario in Ukraine.

We are not asking you for protection: we plan to defend our rights. We would simply like the United States to make it clear to the new Ukrainian leadership that without observance of standards of freedom of speech, division of power and independent courts, accepted in the civilized world, Ukraine cannot rely on support for reform and modernization of its political and economic system. We are certain that the Ukrainian leadership will listen to these arguments.

The Team of the Television Channel TVi

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