News / Europe

Independent Ukrainian TV Station Struggles to Stay on the Air

Independent Ukrainian TV station Struggles to Stay on the Airi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Oksana Lihostova
October 11, 2012 5:00 PM
Journalists and their supporters in Ukraine are protesting what they say is a government attempt to stifle one of the few remaining independent television stations -- ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for late October. The station - known as “TVi” -- has been embroiled in tax and administrative disputes with the government, and has begun to disappear from cable networks. Journalists accuse President Victor Yanukovych of giving the order to switch TVi off -- state officials deny involvement. Here’s more from Oksana Lihostova in Kyiv. Amy Katz narrates her report.
Oksana Lihostova
Journalists and their supporters in Ukraine are protesting what they say is a government attempt to stifle one of the few remaining independent television stations - ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for late October. The station - known as TVi - has been embroiled in tax and administrative disputes with the government, and has begun to disappear from cable networks.  Journalists accuse President Victor Yanukovych of giving the order to switch TVi off -- state officials deny involvement. 

Ivan Artemenko is disappointed: The Kyiv student’s favorite channel  - TVi - has vanished from the airwaves. “I switched on my TV -- there is darkness on a channel TVi. The note says: 'The channel is not supported,'” he said.

TVi has been having trouble with the government for some time.  The channel was denied a license for digital transmission.  Its director was charged with tax evasion - though the charges were later dropped. 

Finally, says general director Mykola Kniazhtsky, TVi simply started disappearing from cable TV networks.

“More than 80 cable operators switched us off. One of the biggest cable operators Triolan switched us off. Another big cable provider, Volia, which is in fact a monopolist in Kyiv, transferred us from a cheap basic package to the expensive one,” she explained.

As a result, TVi’s audience has shrunk to a third its former size - threatening the station’s survival - and also hampering Ukraine's political opposition, which uses TVi as a way to communicate with voters.

TVi's management says the National Council on Television and Radio told cable operators to switch the channel off.  The Council denies the charge.
And cable providers deny they are bending to political pressure.

Some say they dropped TVi because of technical reasons, others - because the channel didn’t have high enough ratings.  One company, Volia, says it simply optimized its channel lineup. TVi is accessible. 

"You can see it for yourself.  Nobody has switched it off," she stated. "But in which package it is available -- this is our personal business decision to make.”

Independent experts are skeptical about these explanations - especially during an election campaign.  Natalia Ligachova is with the media watchdog group, Telekritika.

“The main responsibility for the situation with TVi channel lies with the Ukrainian authorities. The authorities themselves must provide a possibility for the only opposition channel in Ukraine to operate without obstacles,” she said.

A protest last month in support of TVi drew some 1,500 people.  And viewers chipped in to help the station pay its fine when it lost a tax case in court.

The station's editor-in-chief, Vitalii Portnikov, says Ukrainian journalism is now at the last frontier of freedom of speech.

“It is important for us that Ukrainian journalists have freedom of expression, so that our viewers are not constrained, like during the Soviet times, to find out the truth only from the Voice of America or Radio Liberty. This is a shame for the independent state, for a democratic state," said Pornikov. "We are here to tell people the truth by ourselves.”

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid