Thu, 23 May 2024

Ukraine – Letter from Ukrainian journalists

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We, journalists of television channel TBi, support the appeal of our colleagues from 5Channel of the attempts of Head of Security Service of Ukraine Valeriy

Khoroshkovskiy to destroy the independent media. Mr. Khoroshkovskiy himself is demanding the journalists to give the proofs of accusation to publicity in his statement in his own agency Ukrainian News.

Here they are:

As it is well known from media, Valeriy Khoroshkovskiy is the owner of Inter Media Group, while his wife is the head of this Group. At the same time he is Head of Security Service of Ukraine and a member of Supreme Council of Jurisdiction, which has strong influence on every judge. There is a direct and evident conflict of interests.

Security Service of Ukraine headed by Mr. Khoroshkovskiy illegally interfered into the sphere of independent regulatory institution – National Council on Television and Radio Broadcast of Ukraine with the demand to National Council to present the documents of the tender.

Later on these same documents were demonstrated at the court and were submitted by the companies of the group Inter. These companies did not appeal for the documents from the National Council.

Company Music TV, which is a constituent part of Mr. Khoroshkovskiy’s holding, gave unfaithful evidences in the courts of Ukraine on several occasions; in fact this company fabricated the documents. That is, at Kyiv County Administrative Court this company stated that it was located at urban type settlement Baryshivka in Kyiv region at the address that did not exist, which was proved by journalists’

We assert that Valeriy Khoroshkovskiy is having an evident conflict of interests that leads to appropriation of corporate opportunities for the benefit of one media group that is trying to monopolize the market in the illegal manner, to misinform the courts.

According to the competition terms of the tender, it is stated that only television companies which “have the aim to create technical conditions for equal competitive possibilities” have the right to take part in the tender. At the same time, due to the letter of Anti-monopoly Committee of Ukraine to National Council on Television and Radio Broadcast of Ukraine, acquisition of license by large media groups, videlicet by the group UA Inter Media Group, can change the situation on the markets of television services and television advertising distribution services and have negative influence on business competition. Anti-monopoly Committee

recommended to take this information into consideration while holding the tender to prevent monopolization. According to Article 46 of the Law of Ukraine “Of Protection of Economic Competition” the recommendations of the institutions of Anti- monopoly Committee of Ukraine should be taken into consideration on the mandatory basis by the institutions or persons that received them.

Instead of that National Council, without any reaction to this letter, anyway issued Inter Group with 20 frequencies. Later Valeriy Khoroshkovskiy informed that the group seemed to refuse these frequencies. But on June 2 the representative of the group in the court in reply to the question “Did the group refuse the frequencies?” had this to say: “Our refusal was not accepted by National Council.
After hearing of the case in the court National Council will decide upon possibility or impossibility of frequencies refusal”. Thus, even here Khoroshkovskiy was not telling the truth.

The fact that the court took place with numerous procedure violations makes us think that the court was not unbiased. Here are some aspects:

– in compliance with the Law on administrative cases it is forbidden to distribute cases in manual mode, and the personnel of the collegium must be defined exclusively by an automated system. In this case the collegium was formed manually with the violation of Article 3 15/1 of Administrative Legal Proceedings Code (ALPC);

– pursuant to Clause 5 of Article 27 of the Code a judge appointed in manual mode must take a disqualification of self. But this was not done, and the stated disqualifications were rejected by the judges;

– in violation of Clause 33 and 35 of ALPC the court did not send out writs to the persons who had to take part in the case;

– in violation of Clause 27 of ALPC the court did not postpone the legal proceedings when the participating parties who had not been informed did not appear in the court;

– in violation of Clause 65 of ALPC the court refused the third parties who stated independent claims to satisfy their motion to summon as witnesses the members of National Council who took the decision on January 27, 2010;

– in violation of Clause 123 of ALPC the court did not provide for the full, all- round and objective clarification of circumstances in the case, without satisfying even a small part of those motions that were stated by the third parties with independent claims. The Head in the legal proceedings did not interrupt the presentation of claimants representatives and did not insist on their actual

answering the questions from the representatives of the third parties instead of their answers like “Read the answer in our claim”. The attitude of the court to the representatives of the third parties (TBi and 5th Channel) was completely opposite – they were interrupted and devoid of the opportunity to state their own thoughts;

– in violation of Clause 123 of ALPC the court did not announce a break in legal proceedings and did not present the interested parties with the term long enough for their preparation for the case in connection with the change in claimants demands;

– in violation of Clause 152 of ALPC the Head in the legal proceedings on June 8, 2010 limited the debate performance of the Express-Inform representative and did not give any time to pronounce remarks after the end of legal debates.
the court ignored the right for debates of the representative of the 5th Channel Tetiana Malashenko who had been taken by ambulance to hospital the day before, as well as the rights of the other persons who did not know and could not know that the case was prolonged to hear on June 8, 2010 at 8:00.

We demand:

– to create an independent parliament commission on investigation of abuse of official position from the side of Head of Security Service of Ukraine and member of Supreme Council of Justice Valeriy Khoroshkovskiy in the interests of his own business

– to suspend the presidential powers of Valeriy Khoroshkovskiy in both these positions for the time of the investigation

– public control over the formation of National Council on Television and Radio Broadcast with the aim of inadmission of clan interests lobbyists into its ranks

– to stop the use of legal system in the destruction of independent mediaspace in Ukraine.

We hope for the support of Ukrainian society and journalist community in the cause of defending the country from rough pressure from oligarchs in official positions.

Vitaly Portnikov
Roman Skrypin
Artem Shevchenko
Katerina Nesterenko

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