Court upholds cancellation of frequencies and wants criminal proceedings initiated
The Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal has upheld the cancellation of the results of the January National TV and Radio Broadcasting Council tender for free frequencies and declared the licences of Channel 5 and TVi invalid.
This ruling was announced on 30 August by the Presiding Judge Anatoly Denisov, having examined the appeals lodged by TVi and Channel 5 in the case brought against the Broadcasting Council by two television channels – NTN and Enter Film” – within the Inter Media Group. The latter is owned by the Head of the Security Service [SBU] and member of the High Council of Justice. The Court allowed the appeals in part, cancelling the District Administrative Court’s ruling and passing a new one.
The Court found not only the decisions of the National Broadcasting Council regarding the results of the tender invalid, but also the announcement of the tender. The only grounds given by the Court of Appeal were what they deemed the unlawful actions by the Broadcasting Council involving obvious infringements. The Court adopted a separate decision calling on the Prosecutor General to initiate criminal proceedings against those responsible.
In April U.A. the Inter Media Group 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.
Today’s ruling must reverberate and not only through Ukraine. A large number of the international media NGOs which have expressed their concern about the situation with human rights in Ukraine have specifically focused on this case. TVi and Channel V have been the main channels where opposition and critical voices could still be heard (see for example http://www.freemedia.at/singleview/5093/ and information about the response on the President’s website http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/op_ed/detail/78657/ ) as well as Myroslav Marynovych’s article: http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1281625075 )
Information about the court ruling at: http://www.telekritika.ua/news/2010-08-30/55380