Crimean authorities take TV channels off air

March 7, 2014 11.43 Europe/London By Robert Briel

FlagUkraineCrimean authorities should immediately restore broadcasting in the region by the independent Ukraine television stations Channel 5 and Channel 1+1, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement.

According to local journalists in Crimea and news reports, regional authorities in the administrative centre Simferopol stopped transmitting the two privately owned broadcasters’ analogue signals to the peninsula today on the order of Sergei Aksenov, the recently appointed pro-Russian prime minister of the region.

Earlier this week his government threatened in a statement to “shut off the flow of deceitful and biased information in order to save the public from negative impact,” the independent news website Lenta reported.

A spokeswoman for Channel 5 told CPJ by phone that the station’s programming is currently unavailable in Crimea and that regional authorities have not responded to Channel 5′s requests for explanation. Evgeniy Garkusha of the Simferopol-based Center for Investigative Journalism told CPJ that some regional cable networks also stopped carrying programming of the two channels.

Garkusha said Russian state-owned broadcasters Rossiya and Rossiya-24 are being transmitted on the airwaves of Channel 5 and Channel 1+1.