Court hearing over TVi and Channel 5 frequencies rescheduled
The court hearing into the appeals brought by Channel 5 and TVi against the cancellation of the results of the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council’ January tender has been deferred until 26 August. As reported, the official applicants were the TV companies NTN, Enter Film, and Enter Music which are all part of the Inter Media Group, owned by Valery Khoroshkovsky, Head of the Security Service [SBU] and member of the High Council of Justice.
According to lawyer Yury Krainyak, who is representing TVi, the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal took the decision on Monday since not all parties had been properly informed of the time of the court hearing (there are 19 parties, and only 8 had confirmed receipt of the court notification).
During the hearing some of the staff of TVi and Channel 5 who are third parties were not allowed to be presented, as well as some of the journalists who are covering the court proceedings. The members of the press were told that this was because the court hearing was already in process although press registration only began at 11.15, i.e. five minutes before the hearing. The person not in uniform who stopped them said that he was the court person in charge, but refused to provide any identification. It should be noted that the court hearings into this case are supposed to be open.
General Director of TVi Mykola Knyazhytsky said that the decision of the court to defer the hearing had been correct since many colleagues had not received notification. “Just as we are defending our rights, we defend the rights of our colleagues as well”.
Telekritika asked Mr Knyazhytsky whether the active campaign in support of TVi and Channel 5 could not be viewed as pressure on the court by those channels, even though the latter had in their open appeal warned that the Head of the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal, Anatoly Denisov, might be under pressure. Mr Knyazhytsky replied: “Public attention is never pressure. And the public should put pressure on the government and not on the courts. The point is that after the changes to the Law on the Judicial System, it has become fairly difficult for judges to work. In our case when there is a conflict of interests and one of those on whom the fate of all judges depends is part of a legal dispute against us via his businesses, it is important for us to defend the court and not put pressure on it. All that we want from the court is an objective ruling, we do not want a ruling in our favour.”
On 8 June the District Administrative Court in Kyiv allowed the law suit brought by television channels within the Inter Media Group against the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council and annulled the results of the tender for broadcasting licenses from 27 January. Channel 5 and TVi which were third parties with independent demands regarding the suit, appealed this ruling.
There were in fact three suits from the Inter Group against the Broadcasting Council. Two of them, from NTN and Enter Film, were examined by the District Administrative Court and allowed. These are presently being appealed. The third suit from Enter Music was examined by the Kyiv Regional District Administrative Court and sent back according to its territorial jurisdiction to the City Administrative Court where it is soon to be heard.
In April U.A. Inter Media Group which is a Kyiv-based media holding company gave up the broadcasting licence it received on 27 January and claimed that the tender had been held in breach of the law. As a result of that tender 33 frequencies were allocated to TVi; 26 to Channel 5 and 20 to the Inter Media Group.
Please see the links below for information about serious concerns over this case