Crimean Tatar journalists dismissed from official channel
Many observers believe that the dismissals on the State-owned Krym Crimean Tatar programme are aimed at minimizing the influence of the Mejlis and giving voice to only those Crimean Tatars cooperating with the occupation regime.
They’re calling it ‘restructuralization’, but few are convinced, especially after previous indications of trouble. Several leading members of the Crimean Tatar programme who have worked at the state TV and radio broadcaster ‘Krym’ for more than 10 years have lost their jobs. They told the Radio Svoboda Crimean Service that they will be appealing against the dismissals in court.
One of the editors Arzi Selimova reports that the newly appointed director of the programme Seiran Mambetov, who was previously in charge of Krym’s music programmes has removed five people, all of them highly experienced with many having worked there since the programme began.
The team is concerned and in Selimova’s words, does not consider Mambetov to be “a person who can personally resolve the fate not only of journalists, but the fate of the Crimean Tatar editorial office as a whole, and the fate of the programme for which there will now be no place for literary Crimean Tatar language and culture”.
Editor Ediye Mamutova who was dismissed while on maternity leave and Selimova plan to appeal their dismissal. The Krym trade union is also preparing an appeal against the dismissals which they say were carried out with numerous infringements.
Mambetov himself asserts that the dismissals are merely aimed at bringing in “young, creative people”.
Observers consider that with the change in leadership as well as the dismissal of a number of members of staff, editorial policy will also change. They believe that the position of the Mejlis or representative-executive body of the Crimean Tatar people will not be heard and that journalists will only give the views of those Crimean Tatars who work with the current regime.
Since April 21 there has been a ban on broadcasting Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian MP Mustafa Dzhemiliev, the current head of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov and other members of the Mejlis.
At the end of June Seyitislyam Kyshveyev, director of the Crimean Tatar programmes on Krym was dismissed supposedly on the basis of an internal investigation. Kysheyev however said that they had first proposed that he ‘leave at his own request’. It was after he refused, that they used the article of the labour code on ‘systematic failure to carry out ones duties without a good reason’.
The formal pretext for the dismissal was that the editorial office was not providing verbatim translation of Crimean Tatar programmes into Russian. Kyshveyev says that he had tried for several years to develop a proper system of simultaneous translation, but had never received the necessary technology and number of translators needed.
On June 25 the Chief Editor of the programmes, Ganiev Shevket was dismissed under the same article of the labour code. He managed to prove that this was unlawful and was reinstated, however only on the basis of a labour contract which is terminated when the period expires.
Kyshveyev said then that the situation in TRC Krym was resembling the repressions of the 1930s with staff persecuted for having their own views. He believed that places were being freed up for those more loyal to the new occupation regime.
It is looking as though he was right. The moves coincide with a major offensive against the Mejlis, and clear attempts to undermine its position as the body undoubtedly representing the vast majority of Crimean Tatars.