CPJ condemns Ukraine’s order to take Russian TV off air

New York, March 12, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a decree by Ukraine’s National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting to cable and satellite providers on Tuesday to cut off the transmission of Russian state-controlled TV stations in the country. The order, which was immediately enforced, appears to be a response to Crimean authorities replacing the transmissions of Ukrainian and independent local TV stations last week with broadcasts from state-controlled Russian TV channels. 

“We call on Ukrainian authorities to allow Russian television channels to broadcast in the country and to ensure that the citizens of Ukraine have a plurality of information sources available,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “Ukrainian people should be able to choose for themselves what information and opinion to access. Restricting access would escalate, not alleviate, the current tensions.”

Russian state-controlled stations have stepped up anti-opposition and anti-West rhetoric in their coverage of the crisis in Crimea. As of today, at least half of all the major cable and satellite service providers have shut down the broadcasts of Russian stations Rossiya 1, Vesti, Rossiya 24, ORT, RTR-Planeta, and NTV-Mir.