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Priamyy and Channel 5 file a lawsuit for being excluded from digital broadcasting

02.06.2022, 14:56
Illustration: Priamyy channel
Illustration: Priamyy channel

Channel 5 and Priamyy filed a lawsuit against the Broadcasting, Radiocommunications and Television Concern (BRTC) and the State Special Communications Service for being excluded from digital broadcasting.

The channels' managers told Detector Media about this.

"Espreso" TV channel continues their search for who is to blame for the blocking, so they appealed to the SSU and the Prosecutor's Office. The channels began to receive bills from Zeonbud in April, the cost of their services is about UAH 1.5 million.

"We are suing the BRTC and the State Special Communications Service and the Cabinet of Ministers to which they report. We have not yet paid Zeonbud, we are trying to figure out what to do about this. After that conversation in the parliamentary committee, no one spoke to us or contacted us in any way. The initiative to talk to those who run the telethon, the National Council and the MCIP, remained merely an initiative," said Channel 5 Director General Volodymyr Mzhelsky.

Director of the Priamyy channel Volodymyr Stashevsky said, "We have filed a lawsuit against the BRTC and the State Special Communications Service. And against Zeonbud and the National Council, as they were also parties involved. Nobody contacted us, and we have seen no action to restore the broadvasting except Podolyak's statements. We have not yet received any papers from Zeonbud to pay for the services they have provided."

Iryna Handziuk, the first deputy director of "Espreso," explained why they have not yet filed a lawsuit for disconnecting the channel from digital broadcasting.

"We have not yet filed a lawsuit. We are still collecting information on who exactly turned off the signal. If we move into the legal realm, we do not have enough evidence to contest someone's action or inaction. Therefore, we are collecting information, we have filed our statements to the SSU, and to the Prosecutor's Office, too, they passed it over to the SSU. We will react accordingly to how the situation unfolds," she said.

According to her, the channel has filed a complaint with the SSU about a criminal offense having been committed with regards to interfering with the telecommunications networks. "Let the SSU find out who shut the channel off, because no other state body can find this out. Unfortunately, the Service did not take our application into consideration properly. Therefore, we appealed to the court, and the court ordered the SSU to review our application. We are waiting. Due to the martial law in the country, there was even a problem with the submission of the court decision. The court could not send its decision to the SSU, and the SSU was not acting on it, saying that they have not received it yet. We have organized this process and are waiting for the SSU's response to our statement and the relevant court decision," Iryna Handziuk said.

According to Iryna, no one has contacted the channel's management about committee chairman Mykyta Poturayev's stance that the news channels should be broadcasting "United News." "As a result of the committee meeting, as far as we know, the committee chairman has submitted the according addresses to the National Council, the Ministry of Culture, the State Special Communications Service. But we have received no feedback to these addresses," she said.

"Espreso" also received a bill from Zeonbud for their services in April, but the channel has not paid it yet. "The cost of their services in April is near UAH 1.5 million. The advertising market is still virtually absent, the TV company's revenues are less than that. Therefore, we believe that paying salaries to our employees is a higher priority than paying Zeonbud for the services we effectively didn't receive. Therefore, we received the bills, but we did not make the final decision on whether to pay or not. I think that if we fail to reach a settlement on this issue, we will file a lawsuit at the Economic Court, and sue Zeonbud as well for improperly provided services. If they insist on full payment of the bill, and we did not receive the services, then, obviously, we will have to sue Zeonbud," explained the first deputy director of "Espreso."

The chairman of the committee, Mykyta Poturayev, told the publication that not all of the state bodies have provided their response to the appeal yet. "The members of the committee will decide whether to consider this issue at a committee meeting or just routinely," he said.

As IMI reported, the adviser to the head of the President's Office Mykhailo Podolyak believes that the channels from the so-called Petro Poroshenko's pool (Channel 5, Priamyy, and "Espreso") were excluded from digital air because they were harmful due to the ex-president's "narcissism."

On April 4, Channel 5, "Priamyy," and "Espreso" announced that on April 4 in the morning the Broadcasting, Radiocommunications, and Television Concern (BRTC) had shut down the broadcasting of these TV channels in T2 digital network.

Digital television provider "Zeonbud," which is currently subject to the governmental BRT Concern, is not aware of the reasons for "Espreso," "Priamyy," and Channel 5 being shut down.

The National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting has announced that it has not approved of the decision to shut down the "Priamyy," Channel 5, and "Espreso" channels, and does not have a mandate to do so.

On May 9, the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine explained that the reason for shutting off the digital broadcasting of "Espreso," Priamyy, and Channel 5 was an implementation of the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine regarding the broadcast of a joint telethon.

The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine said that shutting channels off from digital broadcasting is not within the ministry's jurisdiction.

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