ATN TV channel accuses Kharkiv Mayor of obstructing its right to broadcast
The Kharkiv television channel ATN [Agency of Television News] has issued an open letter to the President in which it accuses Kharkiv’s Mayor, Gennady Kernes of “unprecedented pressure” and suspects him of misusing his official position. This has led to the channel being deprived the opportunity to broadcast.
ATN was broadcasting on 7 TVK together with the TV company Tonis-Centre. The latter is effectively owned by Kernes and the Head of the Kharkiv Regional Administration Mykhailo Dobkin.
On 22 July the provider terminated its agreement. Other providers, giving different reasons, have also refused to work together with ATN.
In the letter to the President signed by 50 people, they assert that the Mayor is aiming to destroy a number of local TV channels, and that Kernes’ actions bear the hallmark of abuse of official position for personal gain. His actions, they say, also constitute unprecedented pressure on the media outlets under his control, “and pose a real threat to freedom of speech”
As well as problems finding a provider, the channel has also run into difficulty, in trying to ensure continuation of broadcasting by obtaining a health and hygiene stamp. It suggests that the officials have been instructed to delay issue of a hygiene certificate for as long as possible.
From a report at http://atn.kharkov.ua/newsread.php?id=65831