Heorhiy Chechyk

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Chechyk, director of the private radio and television company Yuta, was killed when his car collided with another vehicle in Poltava Oblast, about 215 miles (344 kilometers) east of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, according to local and international reports.

Chechyk, 56, was driving to a meeting in Kyiv to discuss broadcasting news from the Ukrainian Service of the U.S. government­funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Yuta, which Chechyk headed for 11 years, owned the FM radio station Poltava Plus.

Chechyk’s death coincided with a clampdown on radio stations carrying RFE/RL programming in Ukraine. The day of the car accident, police raided the independent Kyiv radio station Kontinent and took it off the air. The police confiscated the station’s transmitter and broadcasting equipment, and sealed its offices five days after Kontinent added a daily two-hour RFE/RL segment to its programming.

Several local and international media organizations called for a thorough and transparent investigation into Chechyk’s death, noting that it came amid the clampdown on RFE/RL carriers.

On March 4, a representative from the Poltava Oblast State Autoinspection Department (Gosavtoinspektsiya or GAI), said Chechyk’s car showed no evidence of tampering. He said Chechyk had likely lost control of the car and entered the opposite lane, according to local press reports.