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Sole Crimean Tatar TV channel could lose its frequency

18.11.2013

The first and only Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR could end up without a broadcasting frequency and Crimean Tatars are convinced that politics is involved. 

A meeting of the National Broadcasting Council was scheduled for Nov. 13 with a contest planned for the rights to the analogue frequency in Simferopol and Sevastopol that ATR has broadcast from since 2006.

The Broadcasting Council meeting was unexpectedly cancelled, apparently because of illnesses making it impossible to muster a quorum.  No information was given about a new date for the meeting.

The ATR management is suspicious. It points out that there are already several other bidders for the Crimean Tatar channel, including the State-owned TRC Krym, which they say serves those currently in power.  TRC Krym already has its own frequency in Simferopol and around it.

Elvira Islyamova, ATR General Director, points out that Ukrainian legislation, including the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting, declares support for ensuring that national minorities have broadcasting opportunities. “If the Crimean Tatar TV channel is deprived of its only analogue frequency, this will mean that such declarations do not extend to the Crimean Tatars.”

The channel enjoys great popularity in the Crimea and not only among Crimean Tatars.  As well as news reports in three languages: Crimean Tatar ; Ukrainian and Russian, there are also documentaries, cultural, children’s and many other programmes.

If the only analogue channel is given to another bidder, those without satellite TV, and they are certainly in the majority, will lose out enormously.  Although the channel is not only watched by Crimean Tatars, the blow will be hardest for them as ATR is seen as a symbol of Crimean Tatar cultural renaissance.

Refat Chubarov, Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People is convinced that there is are political reasons for this move.  He warns that if the worst does happen, a large number of Crimean Tatars will appear at the authorities’ door demanding the reinstatement of their channel.

From a report here

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