The Crimean Tatar television channel ATR has said it has become the target of “witch-hunt” after the Crimean authorities accused it of inciting ethnic hatred and extremism, not ruling out the channel’s shutdown.
The Interfax-Ukraine news agency quoted ATR’s statement on 8 October at 14:40 Kyiv time as saying: “An active campaign has been launched in Crimea lately targeting the first and only Crimean Tatar television channel ATR.”
It quoted a letter from the centre for fighting extremism of the interior ministry of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which stated that ATR was allegedly “promoting anti-Russian public opinion, deliberately sowing distrust towards authorities and their actions among Crimean Tatars, which indirectly carried a threat of extremist activity”.
In this regard, the TV channel was requested to present all the documents permitting it to operate, as well as the list of its official employees, the report said.
On 30 September, the head of the committee for information policy, communications and mass communications of the Crimean parliament, Sergey Shuvaynikov, accused ATR journalists of making “unflattering remarks about Russian Crimea“.
ATR’s statement said that the TV channel had been receiving similar threats before.
“The TV channel has never engaged in ‘propaganda’, ‘planting thoughts’, ‘instilling opinions’, ‘inciting ethnic tensions’, ‘calling for extremism’ and the other things of which we are being accused”, the agency quoted ATR’s statement.