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21.05.2000 | Roman Romanov, Sebastopol

Leonid Kuchma confirms his rating as a most dangerous enemy of press in the world

   

On 26 July the activities of four non-state-owned TV companies were stopped. The victims were the following TV-radio companies: . Black Sea. , . EOA’ (Simferopol), ’Screen’ (Djankoy) and ’Kerch’. There was a formal pretext: the TV-radio transmitting center, which transmits programs of these companies, had no permission from . Ukrchastotnadzor. . the organization managing the distribution of frequency channels. Nonetheless, few people in the Crimea and outside it consider the prohibition as a quite obvious political step. All the above-listed companies have licenses of the National Council of Ukraine in charge of television and radio broadcasting. It was quite unexpected when these companies received letters signed by Anatoliy Trushkov, the head of the State Inspection of electric communications of the Crimea, in which he ordered to stop the transmissions. At the same time the state-owned TV-radio company . Crimea. , having the same rights, continues transmissions without any restrictions.

The management of the . Black Sea. company declared that . during several recent months both local and Kyivan officials negotiated with the company, convincing the latter that the only way for the salvation of the company is to sell the control share package to . interested people. . .

During the week from 19 to 26 July the management of the . Black Sea. company turned with complaints to the President of Ukraine L. Kuchma, to the Prime-Minister V.Pustovoytenko, to . Ukrchastotnadzor. , to the speaker of the Crimean Parliament L.Grach, to the Prime-Minister of the Crimea S.Kunitsyn , to the representative of the President of Ukraine in the Crimea A.Korneychuk, to the representative of the National Council of Ukraine in charge of TV and radio broadcasting A.Sivachenko, to various deputy commissions of the Supreme Rada of the Crimea and Ukraine, to international human rights protection organizations, to mass media, to citizens of the Crimea. But all these efforts could not shake the firm intention of the executive power to put under its control . the information space of the country. .

What happens now in the information sphere of Ukraine can be called a debacle of oppositional and independent mass media, which are suspected in becoming oppositional. The executive power, being not sure in its widely advertised high ratings of the President, tends to cut off the opportunities of any opposition (both right and left) to communicate with voters. The popular non-government TV channel . NOA. (Kyiv) is on the brink of closure. Its difficulties began when the channel . gave shelter. to the program . Parliament hour. , exiled from the national channel. The order is issued to terminate the use of the satellite by this TV channel, since it can . complicate. operations of the Ministry of Defense. The large-scale attack on the free press occurs in all regions of Ukraine. The publication of the oppositional newspaper . Politika. (Kyiv) is terminated again. The newspapers . Dneprovskaya pravda. , . Kirovogradskaya pravda. , . Poltavska dumka. and a number of others suffered from the sanctions of the executive power. Lately one of the most popular oppositional newspapers . Den. underwent 19 inspections!

On 15 July the Supreme Rada of Ukraine issued . The appeal to the Council of Europe, organizations on safety and cooperation in Europe, international parliamentary organizations, parliaments and governments of European countries concerning the dangerous situation in the information space of Ukraine. . Some representatives of international organizations, the OSCE, in particular, began to suggest that the financial aid to Ukraine must depend on the situation with human rights, in particular, with guaranteeing the freedom of speech.

In the end of May the American Committee of protection pressmen. s rights called Leonid Kuchma the enemy of the press No. 6 in the world. Then the press-secretary of the President promised to persecute the American NGO. While the election campaign is progressing, the latter promise becomes more and more funny.

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