Kherson radio station issued a warning over anti-Semitism


The National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council has issued a warning to the Kherson television and radio company [TRC] “Vik” over violation of the Broadcasting Law, specifically Article 8 which prohibits the use of television and radio broadcasting organizations for “propaganda of exclusiveness, supremacy and inferiority of people on the basis of their religious beliefs, ideology, ethnic or racial origin, physical or property situation, social origin.” The relevant decision was taken on 10 November.

The Broadcasting Council was informed that the radio station “Vik”, during the programme “Deputy’s Word”, broadcast offensive anti-Semitic statements during 2009.

The Council apparently then sent a request to the National Expert Commission for the Protection of Public Morality. The latter also received letters from the Security Service and the Kherson Regional Prosecutor’s Office. The National Expert Commission asked for an expert opinion, regarding remarks by Deputy of the Kherson City Council and founder of “Vik”, Serhiy Kyrychenko and Mykola Stavytsky, the General Director of the TRC.

On 24 June 2009 the National Expert Commission found that the material contained “elements of propaganda of national enmity, denigration and insults of a nation”.

Serhiy Kyrychenko who was present at the Broadcasting Council’s meeting, claimed that there were no grounds for a warning since the experts had not, in his view, proved the infringement.   The conclusion in fact speaks of “elements” or “signs”, not claiming proven propaganda. He also said that Mykola Stavytsky who had “allowed” intolerant utterances on air had been dismissed. He said that the new person had almost been decided, that it would be a person who had addressed criticism at “Vik” and that therefore the ideology and content would change.

The Broadcasting Council did not heed Kyrychenko’s arguments and issued the warning finding that the radio station had infringed Article 6 of the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting.

Telekritika notes that in the Ukrainian version of the article A Politician afflicted examples were cited of thoroughly anti-Semitic utterances by the Deputy, Serhiy Kyrychenko himself. Judging from the website mentioned (which even published the critical article under the sections “People write about us” - !!), the level of anti-Semitism there has not abated.

That article criticized the decision of the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council in February 2009 stating that the TV and radio company could not be held liable for utterances made in a live broadcast, even though these were by Kyrychenko, the founder of the station (and a public official).  The Broadcasting Council’s position in November 2010 has changed.   While the clear statement that anti-Semitic utterances are thoroughly unacceptable on air is to be welcomed, there are grounds for believing that the latest decision is not untouched by political conflicts at local level.  

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