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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid