Ukrainian media experts comment on how attack on Inter TV channel could be prevented

Дата: 05 September 2016
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Responsibility for the incident with Inter TV channel rests with the channel’s leadership, Ukrainian authorities and the law enforcement agencies.

Such an opinion was expressed by the media experts regarding the fire at Inter TV channel, during which the “Podrobnosti” TV program studio was burnt and a journalist was hospitalized with a fracture.

This is a great lesson for the authorities, the law enforcement agencies, the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine. In particular, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) had to investigate the case of Maria Stoliarova, to deal with sublease of NIS [the National Information Systems company which owns Inter TV channel] and so on, and remove the hysteria which escalated around the channel. This was not done. As a result we have a blow to the international image of Ukraine, injured people,” Director of the Institute of Mass Information Oksana Romaniuk said in a commentary to Human Rights Information Centre.

According to her, the criminal case under Article 171 (preclusion of journalistic activities) should be initiated over the attack on Inter TV channel as Sunday news program went on the air with a delay, the studio was burned and a journalist was injured. At the same time, the Inter TV channel management must also be responsible for these losses, because it incited hatred.

The case should be investigated promptly and thoroughly, especially since there is already the Inter’s statement on alleged pressure on the opposition channel, and so on. However, I think that the Inter management is also responsible for this incident, because it somehow incited hatred,” Romaniuk said.

However, according to Romaniuk, even the totality of all the violations committed by the TV channel in recent years does not provide sufficient grounds for abolishing its license. However, the channel could have been fined a considerable sum. In addition, the solution of the problems with NIS could have significantly influenced the situation.

Chairman of the National Union of Journalists Serhiy Tomilenko blames the regulator and the law enforcement agencies for the incident with Inter TV channel.

It is clear that the editorial policy of the Inter TV channel raises discussions in our society in general, and among the media experts in particular. The issue of external influence on information policy has been intensified. However, the country has the regulator – the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council. The country has the law enforcement agencies, which should respond effectively to violations of the laws by the TV channel if they do occur,” Serhiy Tomilenko said.

According to him, it is again the issue of protection of journalists from violence, which should be ensured by the security forces.

Chairwoman of the NGO “Detector-Media”, journalist and media expert Natalia Lihachova also believes that the responsibility for what happened with Inter TV channel primarily rests with the law enforcement agencies, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. But a large share of the responsibility still rests with the channel’s management.

September 4, a fire broke out in the premises of the National Information System company, which produces “Podrobnosti” and “Podrobnosti Nedeli” TV programs.

Inter TV channel claims the cause of fire was arson, which was made intentionally inside the office. As a result of the fire, few employees of the company got carbon monoxide poisoning, one journalist was hospitalized with a fracture, “Podrobnosti” program studio was completely destroyed.

According to the law enforcement agencies, the peaceful protest action had been held near the building first, but then someone set fire to the tires.

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