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07.08.2013

Yet another TV channel under siege

   

The civic movement Stop Censorship considers the events in Chernivtsi around TV Channel TVA to be censorship and pressure by the local authorities on an alternative source of information.  It is demanding that the Prosecutor General’s Office and Interior Ministry intervene and put an end to lawless behaviour by local officials and organize a full and objective investigation into the situation.

“Due to a number of incredible “coincidences”, short circuiting and strange technical hiccups, on 23 July Channel TVA was forced to stop broadcasting. Local officials did not allow TVA technical staff to return the repaired equipment to the relay station which is in the building of the Chernivtsi State TV and Radio Company Bukovyna.

Yet further proof that the local authorities are behind the cessation of TVA’s broadcasting is the letter from the pro-government majority in the Chernivtsi Regional Council. On 2 August four Party of the Regions deputies approached the National Broadcasting Councl suggesting that if TVA was not able to keep the conditions of its licence and renew its broadcasting on time, that a tender be announced for its frequency, or that this be simply handed over to the regional council.

On 2 August TVA was also cut off from cable networks. According to TVA’s Acting General Director, T. Keller, this happened as the result of a telephone from above.

TVA employees say that the TV channel is ready to broadcast, that all restrictions on its broadcasting are artificial and created solely by the local authorities. “

Stop Censorship calls on the Head of the Chernivtski Regional Administration to take immediate measures to ensure that TVA can restore broadcasting and take the situation under its control.

They urge the Prosecutor General’s Office and Interior Ministry to intervene and put an end to lawless behaviour by local officials and organize a full and objective investigation into the situation.

They draw the National Broadcasting Council’s attention to the need to investigate why TVA has been cut off and call on it to take into account the fact that it was forced to stop broadcasting due to force majeure circumstances and artificial impediments.

Stop Censorship asks international organizations and embassies in Ukraine to remind the Ukrainian authorities of the enormous importance of respect for freedom of speech and human rights, as well as of observing Ukraine’s international commitments with respect to protecting media freedom. 

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