Authorities continue to put pressure on TV Chornomorska
Pressure from the authorities on the largest and most popular TV and Radio Broadcasting Company [TRC] in the Crimea – “Chornomorska” – is arousing protest among the Crimean public. On Wednesday morning Chornomorska journalists, technical staff and TV viewers are planning to picket the Crimean Council of Ministers. The organizing committee explains that this is in protest against the actions of the authorities aimed at closing Ukraine’s largest private regional TV channel.
In recent days the Security Service [SBU] has joined the pressure exerted by the tax police and control and audit authorities.
At the end of August on the talk show “Political Evening”, on Chornomorska, Deputy of the Crimean Parliament, Valery Kucherenko (the Communist faction) stated that there was such corruption in Ukraine that it would be simply to destroy the State. He spoke twice of the destruction of Ukraine as a state.
The presenter of the programme, Volodymyr Andronaki points out that he does not share the communist Deputy’s views, however this was a live broadcast. He adds that these were the thoughts of Deputy Valery Kucherenko or the party organization to which he belongs. Despite this, as reported, Volodymyr Andronaki and the channel’s Technical Director, Oleksandr Chupryn, have been summoned for questioning to the Crimean Department of the SBU.
Oleksandr Chupryn says that the SBU demanded a copy of the channel’s charter documents and licence. The Head of Chornomorska believes that the enforcement agencies will try to deprive the channel of its licence although, according to current legislation, the company is not liable for statements made in live broadcasts.
The company is on the brink of bankruptcy
At present the property and accounts of Chornomorska are frozen, it is cutting staff and production of programmes. The morning broadcasts have been cut, news broadcasts are less frequent. Experts believe that the authorities are trying to drive the company into bankruptcy.
In the last few days the Head of the company, Tetyana Kraskova stated that the Crimean authorities are using the tax authorities and the SBU to continue putting pressure on the Chornomorska TV and Radio Broadcasting Company. In her view, the final aim of the authorities is to close Chornomorska and remove the only opposition television channel.
The picket today is scheduled for 10 a.m.
From a report by Volodymyr Prytula