In a statement, it says that December 29 is the last day before the expiry of its analogue licence. Two weeks ago, on December 15, the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine unanimously voted to extend and reauthorise the licence. There were no official complaints during the preceding six months while the National Council considered its request.
However, in the last two weeks various sources have informed 1+1 of the possible cancellation of the National Council’s decision, and of a potential hostile takeover of 1+1.
A copy of the letter, which is signed by seven leading executives, headed by Oleksandr Tkachenko, 1+1’s general director, appears below.
Broadband TV News notes that 1+1, which was originally backed by CME and known as Studio 1+1, was launched September 1996. It was the first Ukrainian channel with national reach and quickly established itself as one of the country’s leading broadcasters.
“Dear President Poroshenko, as an individual who has personally invested substantial resources and finances in developing and creating media in Ukraine, you, as nobody else, should understand the importance of such an issue and the impermissibility of setting the precedent by our station’s inability to extend its licence. We recognise these actions as a direct violation of legal procedures of the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting.
“We would like to remind you of the very important role of the media in general, and specifically of 1+1 TV station played in the Revolution of Dignity. Under the government of Viktor Yanukovych, journalists, hosts and management of 1+1 TV, as well as our colleagues from Channel 5, Channel 24 and many other media outlets, became familiar with ongoing governmental pressure on the media as well as constant attempts by government representatives to intrude and intervene in the work of journalists. You assured us from the Maidan stage that these sort of incidents would never occur again, and we all put our trust in you.
“We are deeply concerned and alarmed by this situation and the delay in the decision of the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting, whose members, according to the Ukrainian law, were all appointed by the President of Ukraine. During the last two weeks, we have received information from several trusted sources that the Office of the Ukrainian President is responsible for the delay in the decision by the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting, as well as influencing the decision of the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting and granting control of 1+1 TV station to a third party. We are having trouble believing such messages and, at the same time, can barely understand whose interests are driving these actions.
“We have an unshakable trust in you as the President of Ukraine and the guarantor of the Ukrainian Constitution, as well as in the leaders of the Ukrainian Parliament and Government. We strongly believe that you, as the President, must make a provision for the enforcement of the Ukrainian government’s judgment of December 15, 2016, and, respecting the Ukrainian law, demonstrate to us and society your reverence for the independence of the media.
“There were no issues between the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting and 1+1 TV station. We do not understand why, exactly, on the day our analogue licence was to expire—December 29, 2016—after we had paid our license fee, we are still facing uncertainty, threatened with cancellation of 1+1 TV’s broadcasting, and the appointment of a new third-party management. We need to emphasise that all those actions are, in the words of the United States Vice President Joe Biden, absolute “malarkey” to happen to any private company.
“It is symbolic that on January 1, 2017, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the TV station and the launch of the supremely influential Television Service of News (TSN) in Ukraine. The reporters and hosts of the TV station repeatedly witnessed numerous attempts to take control of 1+1’s editorial policy. However, the trust and support of our viewers always helped us to survive all the hurdles.
“We have to warn and caution all those who stand behind the attempts to dissolve the TV station, which is the source of information for millions of Ukrainians, that we have the right to continue broadcasting even without a licence. It is difficult to intimidate us. However, we have hope that in 2016, with the historic events of 2013 in mind, the state of Ukraine will follow all legal procedures as well as respect the relentless work and independence of the Ukrainian media”.