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Sumy's Vidicon TV reports pressure by Oblast Council deputy; the deputy denies

25.03.2024, 15:04

The Sumy TV channel "Vidicon" reported facing pressure by Oblast Council deputy Mahomed Halayev due to their reporting, the channel writes on their website.

The editors believe the pressure has to do with their recent story about land allocation issues, which mentioned the deputy's wife, Natalia Halayeva.

On February 27, "Vidicon" released a story about the prosecutor's office appealing the decisions of the Sumy City Council regarding the allocation of land plots for construction. One of the plots in question is located near the Druzhba Square and is rented by Natalia Halayeva. A nine-story building is to be built there. According to the oblast prosecutor's office, the development plan affects protected landscape.

"After the story was released... the acting deputy of the Sumy Oblast Council, Mahomed-Sharip Dzhamalovych Halayev, elected from the All-Ukrainian Union Batkivshchyna, threatened the director of the regional TV channel, Natalia Bratushka, by phone. In particular, he said that the 'Vidicon' editors and the director personally would regret crossing his family, and promised a war and informational 'bullying' by all media in the Sumy oblast... In this way, they want to silence us when it comes to land disputes", the channel noted.

In his comment to the IMI representative Mahomed Halayev said that he had no questions, claims or conflicts with "Vidicon" or with the director Natalia Bratushka personally. He also assured that there were no threats coming from him.

According to "Suspilne Sumy", in 2021 Mahomed Halayev said he was an investor in the building near Druzhba Square. Back then, the start of the construction was planned for 2022. In October 2023, the Sumy District Administrative Court satisfied the prosecutor's office's lawsuit and declared the January 26, 2022 decision "On the approval of urban planning documentation" by the City Council as invalid. The defendant appealed to the Kharkivsky Court of Appeal, says lawyer Rodion Abidov.

"Vidicon" was founded in 2002 and is owned by the ex-chair of the Sumy Oblast State Administration, Volodymyr Shcherban. Director Natalia Bratushka, who has been in charge of the outlet for over 10 years, assured the IMI representative that the channel has an editorial policy independent of the owner, and is not financed by the owner. Last year, the channel independently applied for a content analysis by "Detector Media".

In 2022, "Vidicon" started broadcasting on the satellite AMOS-7. The National Council noted that this was done in order for "Ukrainian viewers to have access to objective information about the wartime events in Ukraine."

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