Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Channel 5 Appeals To President For Protection

KIEV, Ukraine -- Following is a June 7 open letter from the staff of Channel 5, considered one of the last television stations to report the news independently and fairly, to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, appealing to the nation’s leader for help against what journalists say are attempts to force the station off the air. On June 8, a district administrative court in Kiev stripped Channel 5 and TVi television channel of their broadcasting frequencies.

Dear Mr. President!

Following the request of the 500-strong staff of Channel 5, we, the representatives of the editorial council, are compelled to address you as the guarantor of the Constitution with an open letter, because of our anxiety that the First Information Channel [Channel 5] will be destroyed.

Due to an unprecedented situation around the court hearing that our channel has been unwillingly dragged into, we require your personal protection. In this situation, we’re asking you to meet with journalists of Channel 5 to hear our position.

Behind your back there are attempts on behalf of the current head of the Security Service of Ukraine, member of the High Justice Council and well-known businessman Valery Khoroshkovsky, who is connected with channels of the Inter TV Group, to destroy Channel 5 through a possible cancellation of the resolution to license a frequency by the National Council on TV and Radio, approved on Jan. 27.

As a result of personal interests pursued by this state official, 500 workers of Channel 5 are threatened with unemployment, and Ukraine will once again confirm its status as the country where freedoms are being curtailed.

In our opinion, you’re the only person who can help Mr. Khoroshkovsky to set a boundary between his personal business interests and those of the state.

We don’t want our actions to be regarded as pressure on the judiciary, and that’s why we cannot see any other way out but to address you with an open letter.

In their professional work, the journalists of Channel 5 have always been guided by objectivity, transparency and impartiality. Perhaps you, the person who declares the standards of European democracies, will be able to explain to certain state officials to adhere to the standards of press freedom and equality of rights.

The editorial council of Channel 5.

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