09.47 Europe/London, August 26, 2011 By Chris Dziadul

Last week’s controversial award of digital TV frequency licences in Ukraine is attracting international criticism.

In an open letter to Volodymyr Manzhosov, the head of the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting (NTVCU), Reporters Without Borders say the principles of media independence and pluralism, guaranteed by article 34 of the Ukrainian constitution, do not appear to have been respected.

It also says that the criteria for allocating frequencies were unclear, with recognised and well- established regional stations with many viewers failing to secure licences, while newly-established companies, all based in Kiev, were successful in their bids.

Reporters Without Borders in addition says that the criteria used to allocate frequencies at the national level also needs to be clarified.

In its view, “the exclusion of many TV stations from digital broadcasting represents a serious attack on media pluralism in Ukraine.”