Activists in Kyiv March 28 held an action to support Crimean Tatar media, in particular the only Crimea Tatar ATR channel, Crimean Tatar channel for children Lale, Crimean Tatar FM station Meydan, a newspaper Avdet, children’s magazine Armanchiq and the Crimean News agency.
The action was arranged by Kyiv department of Crimean Tatar Youth Centre, “Crimea-SOS” NGO, and the Committee on Crimean Tatar Rights Protection.
The participants of the action stood forming Crimean Tatar Emblem Tamga with their mouths sealed up with adhesive tape. They held posters which read “Save ATR”.
“Today all the Crimean Tatar media—Crimean Tatar channels ATR and Lale, newspaper Avdet and children’s magazine Armanchiq-- all are under the threat. We suppose that sweeping away Crimean Tatar media will lead to sweeping away Crimean Tatar language, culture and history”- coordinator of Committee on Crimean Tatar Rights Protection Eskender Bariyev said.
ATR channel is currently broadcasting with a running countdown clock ticking down the seconds until the station's license expires.
More than 200,000 people have responded to an online poll on the station's website, with over 99 percent expressing support for the channel.
Under Russian law, ATR must be registered by Russian media watchdog the Roskomnadzor, by April 1 or will be forced off air. The Russian authorities have already sent ATR's paperwork back four times for corrections or additions.
Sergei Aksyonov, head of the executive branch of the Russian government in Crimea, told a recent press conference that "they are purposefully trying to create a precedent by preventing Roskomnadzor from issuing the documents. They are making mistakes on purpose in order to create a conflict around the station."
The Roskomnadzor has also refused to renew the license of Crimean News Agency.