Batkivshchyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko believes the National Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine has revoked the broadcasting license of the largest television and radio company in Crimea – Chornomorska – on instructions from President Viktor Yanukovych.

"First news of the day: the largest Crimean TV-channel "Chornomorska", which speaks the truth, had its license taken away. Orders given by Yanukovych," Yulia Tymoshenko said on Twitter.

Yulia Tymoshenko believes politicians and the public must speak out in defense of this channel. "I'd like to thank the team working at Chornomorska for their honesty and courage. Freedom of speech in Crimea rests on you! We are in solidarity with you," she said.

She also said that a criminal investigation has been launched against the head of the Chornomorska channel.

As reported, the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting refused to renew the Chornomorska Television and Radio Company’s broadcasting license in three settlements in Crimea: Nova Petrivka, Sovyetske and Chornomorske. The Council plans to put these three frequencies up for tender. The Chornomorska’s current license ends on 28 May 2011.

In its reports on violations of freedom of speech in Ukraine, the Institute for Mass Information repeatedly spoke about pressure on the Crimean Chornomorska company. The company’s president, Tetyana Krasykova, has called the channel’s editorial policy objective and critical of the government. "By and large, I believe that we’re not so much oppositional as objective. The problem is that all media, as a rule, try not to see the shortcomings of the current government. We see them and talk about them" she said in a recent BBC interview.

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