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TVi urges president to address pressures exerted on channel

(IMI/IFEX) - According to, on 8 April 2010, TVi channel journalists wrote an open letter to Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich, demanding that he intervene in the pressures exerted on journalists by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

"The TVi channel became the subject of brute pressure on the part of the SBU", the channel's journalists claimed.

The TVi journalists are concerned over the fact that SBU is turning into "a structure which backs personal and business interests of the head of the SBU, Valeriy Khoroshkovskiy, and members of his family".

Contrary to the law, the SBU directorate has demanded that TVi present them with documents regarding the procedures of certain tenders that caused anger in companies affiliated with Khoroshkovskiy, according to TVi's statement. The General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine concluded that the SBU did not have the legal right to make such a request. Afterwards, the SBU started exerting pressure on the National television and radio broadcasting council.

On 27 January, TVi was awarded new frequencies at a tender launched by the National television and radio broadcasting council. The holding group "Inter", which belongs to Khoroshkovskiy's wife, Olena Khoroshkovska, attempted to get these frequencies as well. Inter is appealing the decision of the National television and radio broadcasting council.

"Moreover, they tried to declare our TV channel a foreign one and thus, to deprive us of the right to broadcast over all the territory of Ukraine. We assure you, we are a Ukraine channel and we are ready to defend freedom of speech in the country where we are citizens", the journalists said in the letter. The statement is signed by 17 prominent journalists including Vitaliy Portnikov, Roman Skrypin and Katerina Nesterenko.

"The aim of this pressure is to monopolise the television market in Ukraine by means of a holding group controlled by Khoroshkovskiy's wife, but which in fact belongs to him", the letter added.

The journalists appealed to President Yanukovich to ensure "normal, rightful functioning at the mass media market field and to put an end to the SBU's intervening in this area and in the activities of an independent regulatory body".

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