It should be noted that the license of the TV channel expired in September 2018. Yet, the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting did not consider this issue in a 60-day term so that the term of the license expires on the day when they refused to prolong it. TV channel’s lawyers filed a lawsuit over “illegal inaction” of the Council.
“We will appeal against illegal inaction of the National Council, its tactic was to miss the terms of consideration of the question of license prolongation. Therefore, the licenses would not be valid within 60 more days since its consideration, it would expire on the same day. They wanted to turn off the broadcasting of the TV channel. We appealed against such inaction,” lawyer Vasyl Smetana said.
According to him, after the new authority came, “for some reason, the judge canceled this ban immediately.” The TV channel has appealed against it.
“Appeal against the cancellation terminated the effect of this decision of first instance court, and today our appeal was supposed to be considered. The appeal concerns illegality of the cancelation of the ban of National Council to reject prolongation of the license. Court session began rather immediately, in an unusual way for the Sixth Court of Appeal. In particular, the judges were selected by the automatic distribution system at around 12 am on August 12, which is the day before tomorrow. They appointed session for today right away. According to the Code, the parties must be informed no later than five days before the session. There are many procedures which were violated, and even during the session, the assistant pointed at the relevant notification, but we proved it to the court that some parties were not informed at all, and others were informed in an inappropriate way,” Smetana said.
The lawyer doubts the independence of this panel of judges and a possibility to deliver an objective verdict.
“We filed not only a motion for the delay so that all the parties can come, as not all of the participants could do it today. We also declared judge disqualification and our judicial position helped us to win this additional time to make it in a normal regime, not to mention political prejudice… I doubt that our challenge will be granted, I doubt that the decision of the court will be different with such approach, we realize that probably it will be negative for the TV channel, but at least the process will be observed, because the way that things are going on right now, it is some kind of fear before the authorities, and the judges violate the process due to the threats of the authorities. Not only the process but also the principle of justice,” Smetana concluded.
It should be noted that media found out that judges, who consider the case on 112 Ukraine TV channel licenses, had ties with the President’s Office.
Earlier, nationalistic and radical groupings threatened to picket the office of the TV channel, and then the building was burst from a grenade launcher. Authorities did not react to this.