Ad notam. Diverse years' notes/1.1

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DIGEST #22 (15th January 2001)


On the eve of "Reporters sans frontiers" visit, Chercassy town authorities cuts the broadcasting of local independent TV company.

On January 10th, Robert Menard, director of the international organization "Reporters sans frontiers"(RSF), came to the Ukraine for a professional visit. The mission of RSF in the Ukraine was to study the condition of freedom of speech in the country. Its research will be presented to the Parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe and to parts of the commission surveying the Ukraine's fulfillment of its obligations concerning the observance of human rights.

On the eve of the arrival of the mission, the board of the Chercassy town region's radio and television broadcasting center (RTBC) ceased re-transmitting the programs of the independent television company "Alt." The director of the RTBC, Todorovsky quoted instructions which ordered dismantling of the equipment. It was suggested to "Alt" that the company rapidly track down a significant sum to purchase a new radio relay line. However, it is a secret for no one in Chercassy that the issue is not over the radio relay. A year ago, an analytical news program "Media-Club", which has been a source of trouble for many local civil servants, went on air at "Alt." The hosts of the program, journalists Victor Borisov and Andrei Lubensky sent the international law-defending organization RSF a declaration in which they gave a detailed account of the abusive closing down of the television company. The authors of the declaration claimed that "the Ukrainian authorities undertake all possible measures to suppress those rare islands of free thought in the country's news expanse, which have survived the presidential elections of 1999. We are convinced that what has happened with "Alt" appears to be a regular episode in the wide-ranging actions of the Ukrainian state. Indeed, the latter, although officially proclaiming its adherence to the principles of free speech, in reality tries to shut the mouth of all journalists who, in effect, follow these principles."