Alexandr Gorobets: BBC indignant at Ukrainian authorities’ actions against opposition radio Kontinent

Kiev FM radio station Kontinent is unique in certain sense. The question is that once opposition journalist Georgi Gongadze worked here. In autumn of 1999, when presidential election took place in Ukraine, most of Ukrainian singers agitated for Leonid Kuchma, while trying to earn money. Namely at that time, Georgi Gongadze went on the air and declared Kontinent would not broadcast these singers. Two years passed since that time, though Kontinent has never broadcast a song performed by the singers who “disgraced themselves with relations with the criminal authorities.” Though very often melodies could be heard handed over to the Ukrainian radio station by BBC. Moreover, since 12.00, at the beginning of every hour Kontinent transmits programmes of the World Radio. News prepared by Kontinent journalists are usually honest and objective. All this, including BBC news that often criticize today’s authorities of Ukraine and are broadcast exclusively by Kontinent could not please the Ukrainian administration and that in Kiev who are responsible for information policy. Practically since the beginning of this year, some attempts started to take off the FM 100,9 wave and to jam BBC radio broadcasts. This was many times announced by workers of the World Service in London. And how do you think this ended? You could find the answer to this question in yesterday’s statement of Ukrainian editors of BBC World Service Radio: “Today Ukrainian authorities took away broadcast licence from Kiev FM radio station Kontinent that broadcasts programmes of Ukrainian BBC Service in Kiev and gave the licence to another company. While resorting to such step, Ukrainian National Council of Television and Radio practically violated its own promise not to meddle in considering appeal sent in by Kontinent radio to Ukrainian arbitration tribunal. Now Kontinent radio – one of the best FM radio stations of Ukraine – is threatened with closing and deprivation of property. The process of obtaining the licence by Kontinent radio was very complicated and accompanied by prejudice. It was impossible to avoid conclusions that the decision was politically based. It looks like from the very beginning the authorities decided to deprive the radio of the licence, and later they made their best to justify this decision. The National Council and its head Boris Kholod even neglected recommendations of their own expert commission, whose members unanimously called the radio the best pretender to the frequency of broadcasting. BBC deeply regrets because of the decision of the Ukrainian authorities, while supposing it could not change to the best Ukraine’s bed reputation what about freedom of the press. Kontinent radio must have a right to rightfully appeal against this decision both in Ukrainian and in European legal bodies. While BBC itself will further consider the issue of prejudiced position on Kontinent radio in different international forums.” Any comments seem to be unnecessary. The parliament election is coming. The authorities need to jam the truthful radio.

Alexandr Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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