Broadcasting Council keeps out of “conflict” between TVi and Triolan
The Council claims that it cannot “interfere” in the election period although it was precisely on the eve of the election period that around 200 thousand viewers were deprived of access to virtually the last remaining independent TV channel.
Ukraine’s National TV and Radio Broadcasting Council continues to insist that the “conflict” between the independent TV channel TVi and provider Triolan is a purely commercial matter. As reported earlier, this stance is not in line with previous penalties imposed against providers for arbitrary changes to the list of channels.
TVi sent a letter to the head of the National Commission responsible for State regulation of communications complaining about the actions of Triolan. TVi disappeared without warning in 11 cities on 20 July. At first Triolan claimed that this was a technical glitch. On 23 July technical work on reinstating TVi was stopped.
Days after the scandalous decision by the State Tax Administration to initiate charges of tax evasion against the Director of TVi, Mykola Knyazhytsky, TVi disappeared from the programmes offered by Triolan. Around 200 thousand viewers were affected in Dnipropetrovsk; Donetsk; Kharkiv; Kyiv; Luhansk; Odessa; Poltava; Simferopol; Sumy and Chuhuyev (Kharkiv oblast)..
Following strong protest from media organizations in Ukraine and from international structures and NGOs, the tax evasion charges were dropped, however a large number of viewers are still unable to watch TVi because of the arbitrary action of Triolan.
It is difficult to give credence to the Broadcasting Council’s reference to the ban on checks before the elections as their reason for not intervening. Just before the official start of the election campaign, but when the ban on tax police checks had already come into force, one of the last independent TV channels in Ukraine received first a visitation from the tax police and then news of the criminal case about Mykola Knyazhystky. And right on their trail came the action of Trialan which has deprived a very large number of Ukrainian voters of the opportunity to hear alternative points of view.
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