Crimean Tatars demand broadcasting time


13 journalists from the Crimean Tatar programmes on the State-owned TV Channel “Krym” [Crimea] have issued a statement demanding increased broadcasting time, improved technical facilities; the addition to staff of a translator; as well as an end to pressure on journalists.  Their statement comes in response to attempts by the Acting General Director of the channel Valery Humenyuk to force journalists to include material about President Yanukovych on the news broadcasts in the Crimean Tatar language.

As reported, the scandal broke out at the end of last week when Shevket Ganiev, the Editor and presenter on Crimean Tatar programmes, reported that a repeat of the programme “Khaberler”, news in the Crimean Tatar language, had been removed from air on 7 June because it didn’t give coverage to the President.  He asserted that Humenyuk had said that it was being taken off the air because it didn’t make any mention of President Yanukovych, and that he had earlier threatened to take measures if there wasn’t enough about Yanukovych

Shevket Ganiev says that he is in favour of programmes being subtitled in Ukraine, but to be able to do this they need another member of staff, with the appropriate command of both languages.

The journalists also demand an increase in the amount of broadcasting time to the licensing norm of 15%   At present the TV channel is entitled to 50% Ukrainian, 45% Russian and only 5% in Crimean Tatar. This figure is far too low to provide sufficient information for the 200 thousand-strong Crimean Tatar audience. Furthermore, public surveys suggest that their programmes are watched by others, not only Crimean Tatars.

President of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars Refat Chubarov also considers the amount of broadcasting time to be too low, and says there should be 3 hours a day in Crimean Tatar, not a week for the 13% of the Crimean population who are Crimean Tatar.

He says that the situation is being monitored by the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people and specifically by its head Mustafa Dzhemiliev who will be informing people abroad.

Rebat Chubarov stresses that international agreements to which Ukraine is a party , including the European Charter on Minority Languages make it possible to demand the government’s unwavering implementation.

The management of the TV channel did not wish to comment on the statement. 

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