SIMFEROPOL (QHA) -

The owner of the ATR –the only one Crimean Tatar channel in the world—Lenur Islyamov said he was threatened that the channel would be taken by force unless he agreed to sell it.

Islyamov was speaking during a press conference in the headquarters of ATR in Simferopol, just hours before the channel would be forced off air, amid Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor’s refusal to re-register the channel.

“There were suggestions to buy the ATR. They said: ‘unless you sell it we’ll take it by force’.  Our doors are open. One can take the server or the frequency of the channel, take everything… but how can they take the ATR staff? How can sell the staff?”- Islaymov said.

Just hours left before the only one Crimean Tatar ATR channel, Lale channel, Meydan FM station,as well as other independent Crimean Tatar media outlets will lose their right to operate in Crimea, as the deadline for the re-registration is April 1.

The ATR has 4 times appealed to the Roskomnadzor to get the license to operate in Crimea, still their appeals were rejected.

Despite submitting applications, Crimean Tatar media outlets that have been arbitrarily refused re-registration or not heard back from the licencing authorities, will be forced to close. Failure to do so will lead to heavy fines and criminal prosecutions.

QHA