TVi journalists turn to the Ukrainian public and international bodies
Appeal by TVi Channel journalists to the Ukrainian public, the PACE, the European Parliament, the OSCE, Election observation missions, international observers, members of the World Newspaper Congress, the World Editors Forum, and embassies of democratic countries.
The end of July marked the start of the parliamentary election campaign in Ukraine. TVi, the last TV channel that is not under the control of the ruling party, and of which I am the Editor-in-Chief, has been subjected to unprecedented pressure aimed at its destruction.
On September 13, in the District Administrative Court of Kyiv, hearings will be held in the case of State Tax Service against the TVi channel. As a result of the ruling, TVi could be forced into bankruptcy and its leader, Mykola Knyazhytsky could face criminal prosecution.
Since the end of July this year, in the run up to parliamentary elections, Ukraine’s National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council has made an illegal request to cable operators asking them to turn off the TVi signal. Just in the month of August, more than 60 cable companies have excluded the TVi from their packages. Starting in early September, the largest cable operator of Ukraine VOLIA Cable is planning to move TVi programs from a popular basic package to an expensive advanced package accessible only to one third of its viewers. This has been done without any announcements or notices to its customers. Only during the first month of the campaign two-thirds of Kiev citizens were denied the opportunity to watch our channel.
We are aware of the fact that most cable operators are acting under illegal pressure from Ukrainian authorities and are threatened with closure.
We need your support. We ask you to let the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and other Ukrainian officials know that repression and stifling of freedom of speech, particularly in the pre-election period, is unacceptable.
Enclosed is a diagram of the reduction in the number of viewers who have access to the TVi programming in various regions of Ukraine from July to September of this year. Also displayed in the diagram is the number of viewers who will not be able to access TVi’s programming when VOLIA cable operator excludes TVi from its basic package.
Under pressure from the Ukrainian authorities, other cable operators who still do broadcast TVi programs may stop doing so at any moment.
On behalf of TVi journalists
Editor-in-Chief of the TV channel
The number of viewers of analogue cable Networks able to watch TVi - Ukraine
The number of viewers of analogue cable Networks able to watch TVi - Kyiv
The number of viewers of analogue cable Networks able to watch TVi - Eastern Region