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Media Movement concerned about searches on Public broadcaster and urges not to block its work

02.09.2019, 15:16
Media Movement “Media for conscious choice” is concerned about the searches at the premises of the National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine and urges not to allow blocking the independent work of the broadcaster. Such is the statement made by the Media Movement open letter concerning searches at NPTU’s premises and its employees’ places of residence, as “Detektor Media” reported. The complete text of the statement follows: On August 30, 2019, the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), together with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), conducted searches at the premises of the National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine (NPTU) and at the places of residence of its chairman of the supervising board Zurab Alasania. According to the SBI, they were conducting investigative actions within pre-trial criminal proceedings on alledged unlawful actions of NPTU officials, namely “abuse of office for the purpose of obtaining undue advantage for themselves or other natural or legal persons”. The NPTU said that during the searches, the company's employees "agreed on voluntarily basis to provide to the law enforcement officers all the materials and documents, what they did during several hours." Media Movement is concerned about the criminal proceedings, as at present the Public Broadcaster is the only media group which is not owned by oligarchs and which works solely for the benefit of Ukrainians. Thus, according to the permanent monitoring held by the “Detector Media” NGO and the election2019 monitoring surveys held by several media NGOs with the support of the Council of Europe, the “UA: Pershyy” is the only TV channel which did not broadcast any material with the signs of being paid-for and maintained independent position during this year election campaigns. We urge the investigative bodies to refrain from actions that the public and the international community may perceive as pressures on independent media. We emphasize the inadmissibility of any action that would impede the normal functioning of the broadcaster, such as its broadcast or production of content. We also call on the investigating authorities, given the public importance of the matter, to provide more information and justification as to whether the cases under investigation are within the jurisdiction of the  SBI and the SBU. We are of one mind that under any circumstances the editorial policy of the Public Broadcaster should remain independent and free from interference by public authorities, political and business groups, and its financial policy and economic activity should be transparent. The statement was supported by: Media Movement “Media for conscious choice” Detector Media Public radio Radio Novoe Vremya (NV) Institute of Mass Information Internews-Ukraine Institute for Regional Press Development Information campaign “On the other side of news” Zmina Human Rights Center Academy of Ukrainian Press Independent Association of Broadcasters Donetsk Institute of Information Center for Democracy and Rule of Law Suspilnist Foundation IMI reported, on August 30, the State Bureau of Investigation together with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) conducted searches at the National Public TV and Radio Company of Ukraine and at places of residence of several of its employees. The State Bureau of Investigation has reported that it is conducting investigative actions in the premises of PJSC “National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine” within the framework of the pre-trial investigation of criminal proceedings regarding eventual unlawful acts of PJSC NPTU officials, namely abuse of office in order to obtain some improper advantages for itself or other physical persons or legal entities. On August 30, Zurab’s legal adviser, Andriy Huk, told that investigators of the State Bureau of Investigation had completed search of Alasania’s premises and seized several copies of documents concerning PJSC NPTU activities. The State Bureau of Investigation has instituted proceedings over the fact of malpractice to verify the supplies of equipment for PJSC “National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine” for the amount of UAH 15 million ($ 594 thousand). On August 30, the National Public TV and Radio Company of Ukraine said that in the decision issued by the Pechersk district court of Kyiv of August 1, for f 30-days validity period, mentioned three reasons for the search, reported three facts that are not related. Photo credit: suspinle.media
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