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Yanukovych asking National TV and Radio Council to address TVi issue

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Sept. 17, 2012, 7:26 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych
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Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has asked members of the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine to deal with the situation around the TVi channel, the president's press service reported on Monday.

The president expressed his concern about the reports that the broadcasting and business activities of the channel were being hindered. Yanukovych called on the National Council to consider carefully all the statements by management and staff of the TVi about the conflicts with government agencies and commercial organizations, the press service said.

As reported, on July 12, 2012, reports said that a criminal case had been opened against TVi Director Kniazhytsky. The tax police accused him of failing to pay Hr 3 million in taxes to the budget. Kniazhytsky said that he had already won all of the trials on this case and that he had paid all taxes. The tax police started checking the channel's documents, although Head of the State Tax Service Oleksandr Klymenko signed an order in April 2012 declaring a moratorium on media checks before parliamentary elections.

On July 27 the prosecutor's office cancelled an instruction on the opening of the criminal case against Kniazhytsky. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Prosecutor General of Ukraine Viktor Pshonka ordered to check whether the criminal case was opened legally.

Kniazhytsky is eleventh in the party ticket of the united opposition.

In addition, on July 20, 2012, TVi Channel said that it had been disconnected from the cable networks of the Triolan trademark and that residents of 11 towns in Ukraine had been deprived of a chance to watch the channel. TVi linked this "with the pressure being placed on the channel."

The National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council refused to intervene in the settlement of the conflict, saying that the conflict between TVi and Triolan was commercial.

Journalists of the TVi channel said later that the cable operator Volia, without warning, had decided to move the channel starting this fall from the popular basic package of channels into the extended expensive package, which only one third of its subscribers use. The channel's staff said it believes that the pressure on TVi, which began at the start of the election campaign, is aimed at "destroying the last television channel that is not controlled by the authorities.

On Sept. 4, Head of the National Council Volodymyr Manzhosov said that the council would monitor all providers of program services regarding the disconnection of the TVi Channel.

On Sept. 12, Kniazhytsky said that the channel's foreign currency accounts had been arrested under a letter from the Economy Ministry. Next day, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry cancelled this sanction.

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