Silencing of Crimean Tatar TV sparks outcry from rights bodies, Ukraine, Turkey

Crimean Tatars talk after praying in the Khan Chair mosque in Bakhchisaray, near Simferopol (Reuters / Thomas Peter). From an article at RT (Russia Today) talking about Tatar rights.

(Reuters) – The silencing of a TV station for the Tatar people in Crimea, annexed by Russia from Ukraine a year ago, sparked an outcry on Friday, with Kiev accusing Moscow of trying to stamp out non-Russian influence on the peninsula.

The station, ATR, which formerly broadcast under a Ukrainian license, has sought four times to re-register with Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, to stay on the air. But each time it was turned down because of alleged mistakes in its applications, Tatar officials said.

The station, which broadcast in the Tatar language to what officials say was an audience of 4 million people in Crimea and beyond, went off the air just after midnight on April 1 rather than face fines of up to $90,000.

There was no immediate comment from Roskomnadzor in Moscow.

The Tatars, a Muslim people who are indigenous to the Black Sea peninsula and number about 300,000 in Crimea’s population of two million, opposed the Russian annexation in March 2014, which followed the overthrow of a Moscow-backed president in Kiev.

Tatar officials saw the refusal to re-register ATR as an attempt to silence their critical stance of Russian rule there…

The (Turkish) World Bulletin is most unhappy. The Tatar language is in the Turkish family.