Kerch journalists call for solidarity in the face of concentrated measures against them
The television and radio company Breeze and website Kerch FM are calling for support in what they believe is pressure against them for defending people’s rights and fighting corruption.
“We are not in any way connected with politics. We simply want people to have the freedom to express their views. We are not against those currently in power, we are for them acting in accordance with the law”
In an appeal open for endorsement, they speak of several unlawful attempts to put pressure on Breeze and Kerch-FM. They write that concerted pressure began after they published a series of journalist investigations about corruption among local officials. All these took place during August. There were demands for information from the police which they assert infringe people’s rights; a campaign against the Breeze Director and founder; attempts to disconnect water and plumbing at the website’s office; attempts to interfere in editorial policy; and innumerable checks by various controlling bodies.
As reported, Kerch-FM reported in August that it was facing a serious DDOS attack. The attack coincided with its reports that the Kerch authorities were putting pressure on the media and disrupting the work of TRC Breeze. It warned that this would lead to 10 FM radio stations in the city stopping broadcasting.
According to Kerch FM, the authorities sent Breeze a letter informing them that they were terminating the lease agreement signed in 2006 for the land on which Breeze’s premises are located. The letter was signed by the Deputy Mayor Sviatoslav Brusak and demands that the land be vacated by 12 August. The land in question holds a radio tower serving 10 leading FM radio stations.
Breeze was not in arrears, and had a contract with the City Council which, Kerch-FM says, had been extended for a further 5 years.
The journalists are adamant that an assault on freedom of expression is underway and call on the government both of the Crimean and of Ukraine to ensure that the pressure is stopped.