Three Ukrainian television channels announce a warning strike
TVi on Saturday issued a statement saying that Channel 5, TVi and the Television and Radio Company Chornomorska would hold a warning strike on Saturday 14 August between 19.00 and 20.00.
They took the decision “in order to draw public attention to the threat to freedom of speech and the foundations of democracy in Ukraine”.
“Over recent months we have been seeing systematic attempts to crush freedom of speech, the free media, to monopolize the information realm with these carried out by representatives of the new Ukrainian regime.”
The statement speaks of many cases of pressure, general assault on rights and civil liberties, reduction of democratic freedoms and desire to establish totalitarianism in the political and social systems.
“A broadcasting strike is a radical step and it is possible that those in power will see this as their victory. However our aim is to show the public that this is what the television realm will look like in the near future if this victory really takes place.
On 16 August the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal could under pressure pass an unlawful ruling in the law suit on removing frequencies and licences from Channel 5, TVi and another 14 channels.”
The statement asserts that this would be due to the personal interest and unrestricted power of V. Khoroshkovsky, media magnate, Head of the SBU and member of the High Council of Justice.
On 11 August the assets of the largest Crimean TV company Chornomorska were frozen. The statement asserts that the check began as the result of a press conference where the Chornomorska management and National Deputy Andriy Senchenko, who is considered to be the owner of Chornomorska stated that pressure on the channel was increasing in the run up to the local elections.
“On 16 August the arbitrary will of the authorities could affect two channels – Channel 5 and TVi, and that will be a precedent and when some official takes a liking to somebody’s private house, flat, car or anything else, nobody will be able to protect themselves, and nobody will be able either to inform of such total lawlessness.”