Head of the Presidential Administration Serhiy Liovochkin will bear political responsibility for any change in the editorial policy at the Inter TV channel, Mass Information Institute CEO and member of Inter public council Viktoria Siumar has said, Kyiv Post reported.
"Yesterday we found out … that Serhiy Liovochkin now is one of the shareholders of the [Inter] TV channel. This is a serious public figure that is in power at the moment. If the editorial policy [of Inter channel] changes, he'll bear a direct political responsibility for that," she said at the press conference hosted by Interfax-Ukraine on Friday.
However, she said that after the sale of Inter Media Group Limited there is no certainty in the editorial policy of the Inter TV channel.
"One of the theories about the replacement of the owner is it being due to pressure from the authorities, the expert also added.
According to her, tax inspections are being conducted now at the channel.
"There is information that tax inspections are being held at the channel, the relative documents for which were signed on the day the previous shareholder of the channel, Valeriy Khoroshkovsky, wrote his resignation letter," the Mass Information Institute director said.
Moreover, she said that on February 14 a new management team at the channel would be appointed.
According to Siumar, the public council of the Inter, which was created after the signing of a memorandum between the Renaissance Foundation and Inter Media Group, anticipates the appointment of a new management team.
"To fulfill the agreements that have been signed with the TV Channel, we have to work with the management. We'll schedule a meeting of the public council, to which we'll invite the appointed managers. We'll see their reaction," she said.
Siumar also noted that the channel's public council was created to ensure the declared editorial policy of the channel does not change, and to support the introduction of free live debate.
"We'll work with the management if our principles are maintained in future," Siumar said.
As reported on February 7, the new shareholders of Inter Media Group Limited, uniting Inter TV Channel and up to ten other channels, will be companies owned by businessman Dmytro Firtash and Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Serhiy Liovochkin.
"I started to discuss the idea of purchasing Inter with Serhiy Liovochkin in 2006. At that time we discussed a deal for the first time with the owner of the channel. Talks consisting of several stages lasted for this entire period of time, and I am pleased that we achieved agreement on the closure of the transaction," Firtash's press service reported him as saying.
The major shareholder of Inter Media Group Limited will be a company owned by Firtash, reads the document.
According to the report, Liovochkin's company will transfer its stake in the TV group to the management of GDF Media Limited from Group DF, which will control 100% of Inter Media Group.
The transaction will be completed when the relevant permits from the antimonopoly authorities are received, reads the press release.
As reported, the seller of Inter Media Group is the then First Vice Prime Minister Valeriy Khoroshkovsky, who explained this step as being due to the impossibility of ensuring the development of the group. According to the seller, the deal is based on the appraised value of $2.5 billion.
Firtash said he believes the TV industry in Ukraine is promising and sees his role in building an effective business.
"I'm ready to do everything to ensure the development of the television group based on the best international standards," he said.