What is the principle the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine is guided by? Is it the law? Is it the guidelines from the Presidential Administration of Poroshenko? Or is it its own stupidity on the way?
On Friday Andriy Portnov, Head of the Channel NewsOne, announced that the Security Service of Ukraine had initiated the checkup of the channel NewsOne on the grounds of ‘systematic broadcasting of Russian propaganda clichés’.
That information was stated in the letter from the National Statehood Security Department of the Security Service of Ukraine addressed to the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine.
The Security Service of Ukraine considered statements like ‘the party of war’, ‘the party of piece’, ‘Russia defends its own interests’, ‘a fratricidal war’, ‘the mechanism for orthodox split’ and ‘the world does not acknowledge Russia as an aggressor’ to be Russian propaganda clichés.
Despite the editorial policy of NewsOne, there is a strange feeling about the origin of that letter. It looks like the message that is now serving the reason for the checkup of the National Council by the Security Service of Ukraine was composed not by the officials from the Security Service but the National Council itself.
And there are reasons for me to talk like that because a similar situation happened to the channel 112. It was in June 2015. Yuriy Artemenko nagged at the logo design of the channel 112 saying that it ‘contained colors of the flag belonging to the aggressive party that is Russia’. According to the posted documents, at that time the National Council conducted a purposeful campaign against the channel 112 in order to take it away from former owners for the benefit of Petro Poroshenko.
Mr Artemenko, Chairman of the National Council, commented on that situation to Telekritika saying that the National Council had received appeals from citizens with requests to do a checkup of the channel and the National Council couldn’t but react respectively. However, the letter that triggered the checkup was composed by Mr Artemenko himself. And this statement of mine I can support by the correspondence that I have at my disposal. The e-mail was sent to the National Council and then applied to lauch the campaign against the channel. And it was done upon the demand on that same National Council.
In addition to that members of the National Council had no idea about such an e-mail.
She based her request on the statement that the channel was trolling the audience and used such combination of colors on its caption background that resembled the flag of the Russian Federation that is white, blue and red. Moreover, she accused the channel of telling lies and inviting fake experts. She also demanded to impose a fine on the channel for ‘demonstrating the flag of Russia’. The National Council was exerting pressure upon the owner of the channel and its managers in that very period of time.
Ponder over it all yourself. The main demand of the ‘claimant’ was to fine the channel and make it stop broadcasting. If the claim had been examined by the lawyers of the National Council they would have answered to the claimant based on the Law of Ukraine ‘About Appeals by Citizens’ No. 393/96-BP. Their answer would have contained the grounds allowing imposing / not imposing the fine and broadcasting prohibition if any.
In addition, acc. to the article 15 of the Law No. 393/96-BP ‘it is mandatory that the body giving a response based on the applications examination be the one that received the applications and had in its jurisdiction obligations to solve issues stated in those applications’.
But the right to give a response was shifted by the National Council to the management of the channel 112 in its letter.
‘We ask you to give detailed explanations of the channel policy on this issue to the regulator. The answer must be sent to the claimant within a reasonable time-frame and a copy of the answer must be provided to the National Council as well’, - said Mr Artemenko in his letter.
Artemenko needed that answer to have grounds for further campaign against the channel 112. That’s why (I can’t rule it out) that the e-mail from ‘Madam Irina’ was typed by him on his own and he was the one to forward it to the channel too as none of the National Council members was informed about such a decision and didn’t authorize the appeal to the channel based on the e-mail. Even though, decisions like that had to be jointly made by the members of the National Council.
In addition, the letter was authorized by heads of departments but they didn’t even manage to get familiar with its content. They simply didn’t read it. How could that happen? It could happen if the document had already been signed by Artemenko. And it was most likely.
I can’t but highlight that the anonymous letter was authorized by 5 heads of departments (who were obliged to have read both the text and the appeal) including the lawyers. After the whole stack of procedures it was signed by Mr Artemenko who was ordered by the Presidential Administration to seize the channel 112 at that very moment.
After the channel 112 made such an appeal from the National Council public and the latter one suffered huge criticism Vladyslav Sevryukov, Member of the National Council, was the first to react to that situation. ‘It’s a shame and bullshit! ’, - typed Vladyslav in the e-mail.
He also mentioned that the letter was sent with no authorization (visa) of the National Council members.
Mr Sevryukov was against practicing that and had no desire to justify or explain such actions afterwards. He demanded to solve the issue at the nearest meeting. First Deputy Olga Gerasimyuk pointed out that it all should have been done long ago to get everything in order and stop sending illiterately composed letters without regard for the standard procedure and protocols.
Mr Shverk, Deputy Chief of the National Council and Deputy of Petro Poroshenko Block at present, was the only one who covered for his chief and commented on the situation. He said that the letter had been prepared by the employee of the relevant department and authorized by 5 heads of departments including the legal department sticking to all of the procedures.
He also reported that ‘sometimes it was useful to use brain for thinking’.
Let me remind you, according to the correspondence of the National Council members on the issue of the channel 112 that was made public earlier, Mr Shverk was the author of the guidelines for seizing the channel and those guidelines were sent by him to Mr Artemenko, Head of the National Council.
The guidelines included paragraphs informing about the reasons that could be used to initiate checkups of the channel and allow issuing cautions.
Well it seems that the author of both letters (concerning the one about the channel 112 and other one from the Security Service of Ukraine to the channel NewsOne) is Mr Artemenko. But in the second case Poroshenko’s puppet that is the Chief of the National Council who receives monthly payments of $10 000 in cash from the Presidential Administration on a regular basis decided to use the Security Service of Ukraine just to mask his own stupidity.