WHEREAS, on March 3, 2004, Ukrainian authorities raided the offices of Radio Kontynent, an FM radio station in Kyiv that broadcasts the Ukrainian-language programs of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the Voice of America (VOA), and other international broadcasters, confiscated the station’s transmission equipment, sealed its offices, and detained three people including the station’s chief engineer, thereby taking the station off the air;
WHEREAS, on February 17, 2004, Radio Dovira, a Ukrainian FM network, dropped the popular programs of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, abruptly ending a successful five-year partnership;
WHEREAS, there is an ongoing campaign by Ukrainian authorities against independent media in Ukraine, which includes the harassment of journalists and the suppression of fact-based news and information and investigative reporting;
WHEREAS, virtually all Ukraine’s electronic media now are directly or indirectly controlled or influenced by the government;
WHEREAS, this is a presidential election year in Ukraine, when the need for news from many sources is acute; and
WHEREAS, the programs of RFE/RL and VOA are popular in Ukraine and provide accurate, objective and timely information about Ukraine and world events;
THEREFORE, the Broadcasting Board of Governors hereby urges the Government of Ukraine to permit resumption of broadcasts by Radio Kontynent immediately, including the programs of VOA and RFE/RL; to eliminate barriers to broadcasts of international radio programs on local radio stations throughout Ukraine; to investigate thoroughly and openly the death of Heorhiy Chechyk, general director and owner of the Poltava Radio and Television Company “UTA,” in an auto accident on March 3, 2004, when he was enroute to Kyiv to meet with RFE/RL officials to discuss carrying RFE/RL programs on his radio station; and to end its campaign of intimidation and pressure on independent media in Ukraine.
March 10, 2004
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