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Directors of four television stations believe municipal authorities are trying to silence their media outlets

(IMI/IFEX) - Four television stations in Odessa, Nova Hvylya, Grad, Channel 52 and ART, as well as the entity responsible for broadcasting them, the Odessa Municipal TV and Radio Center, have claimed that their activities are being hampered because of their critical reporting. The stations accused the municipal council and the municipal property administration of persecuting them, according to Telekrytyka, a web-based media outlet.

The Odessa Municipal TV and Radio Center leases two floors of the municipal property administration building. On 29 October 2009, the Odessa city council decided to launch a major renovation of the building. As a result, the four television stations and the TV and Radio Center were compelled to move out of the building on 15 November.

"This major overhaul or reconstruction of the administrative building is going to result in the cessation of all our activities for an indefinite period of time. We call for the appropriate measures to be implemented as guaranteed by the law to defend our rights and property from criminal actions," the directors of the television stations said in a letter to the Odessa regional administration, the Odessa regional public prosecutor and the head of the regional police administration. The directors believe the move by the local authorities is an attempt to silence the media outlets and restrict the right of citizens to obtain information, which is guaranteed by Article 34 of the Ukrainian Constitution.

Meanwhile, Telekrytyka tried to contact the first deputy mayor of Odessa and the heads of the municipal information administration and the municipal property administration, but no one was available to comment on the issue.

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