The National Council for television and broadcasting delayed the issue of prolonging the regional digital licenses of 112 Ukraine TV channel on the fraudulent letter of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Member of the National Council Oleh Chernysh claimed this in a commentary to Telekritika.
The official wanted to raise such an issue at the session of a regulator on November 29 but the Head of the agency Yuriy Artemenko pointed on the absence of 112 Ukraine TV channel issue on the agenda of the session, and this is why he did not allow to drive the topic. First Deputy Head Olha Gerasimyuk supports Oleh Chernysh; she has also questioned the authenticity of the letter. While Deputy Head Uliana Feshchuk has a different opinion, she assured Telekritika of its existence.
‘In September, the Head of the National Council summoned me with a claim to look at the document for official use from one of the security forces. It recommended not considering the extension of digital licenses of 112 Ukraine. It was reasoned with that they are analyzing the change of the TV channel’s ownership. I have signed it, as well as all other members of the National Council. Later, it turned out that we didn’t register the letter from the agency, and it was gone. I asked my colleagues, Yuriy Anatoliovych, about the letter, where is it, I want to see it. Yuriy Anatoliovych noted that SBU would write another letter in this circumstances. I personally doubt that the SBU will write such a letter. Now, when we do not possess the SBU letter, I don't believe that it has ever existed. Yes, I have signed the document, I saw the header of the letter, and it looked like an official. But I never thought that it would be a big problem to look at it again. This is why I doubt about the existence of the letter and whether it was falsified. First, they are registered in the organizational department, where they are stored, but initially, they can go directly to the head, after which they are still registered. It hasn’t been done,’ Oleh Chernysh noted.
The seven-year term of validity of five digital licenses of 112 Ukraine expired on September 19. According to the law, the licenses of a broadcaster remain valid until the National Council adopts a decision on their prolongation. The regulator may not renew the license due to non-transparent ownership. 112 Ukraine TV channel has five outstanding warnings for digital licenses and a penalty for unauthorized change of concept; this is why the law allows the regulator to refuse in the prolongation of the licenses. In this case, 112 Ukraine will have a license for satellite broadcasting, to which the regulator has no complaints.
Yuriy Artemenko explained the delay of the issue of the extending the five regional digital licenses of 112 Ukraine TV channel at the session on September 13, by the request of SBU not to make a decision until the end of the investigation on the change of ownership of the broadcaster.
Uliana Feshchuk Ulyana Feshchuk appointed to the National Council under the presidential quota assured Telekritika that SBU’s letter on 112 Ukraine exists. ‘What it has to do with the existence or non-existence of the letter if he (Oleh Chernysh, - 112 International) has read it and made decisions on its basis?!,’ Feshchuk, who supervises legal issues in the regulator claimed.
First Deputy Head of the National Council Olha Gerasimyuk confirmed to Telekritika, as well as Oleh Chernysh that she signed the “SBU letter.” However, currently, she is not sure whether the signed document was original. ‘It is important to establish the truth. Since, the fact of the “request” of SBU influenced the decision to postpone the consideration of the issue of extending the digital licenses of 112 Ukraine, and even the violation of the deadlines. At the same time, I don’t think the letter was sent to an independent body, such as the National Council, as an order; we must consider questions and make our own decisions, whatever they may be. The National Council has enough competence in this matter. Now, the National Council must explain why it has violated the terms of considering the issue of renewing the licenses of 112 Ukraine. It can easily be talked publicly, since there is no such a letter. It is important to clarify the situation, since we are talking about the transparency of decision-making and the inadmissibility of any suspicions of official substitution and manipulation. This is important for the regulator to improve gradually because its role is very important in the conditions of information threats,’ Gerasimyuk claimed.