World Bulletin / News Desk
An independent Crimean Tatar television channel has been accused of 'extremism' in the latest crackdown by the peninsula's pro-Russian authorities on the native Crimean Tatar people.
Shevket Namatullaev, who works as a journalist for ATR, wrote on Facebook that Crimea's anti-extremism department Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media) had sent the TV channel a letter which stated that it had sent a complaint about it to the Russian Interior Ministry.
The letter accuses ATR of persistently fostering an idea on alleged “repression based on national and ethnic grounds.”
ATR is also accused of contributing to developing anti-Russian public sentiment and intentionally inciting Crimean Tatars to distrust the authorities and their actions, “which indirectly creates the threat of extremist activity,” Qirim News Agency reported.
Namatullaev added that ATR was instructed to hand over its documents and provide a list of officially employees at the channel.
In response to the pressure being put on ATR, the Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement, calling on pro-Russian authorities in Crimea to stop harassing the independent regional broadcaster.
"Crimea's anti-extremism center should immediately cease its harassment of regional news outlets and reporters and withdraw its accusations and demands against ATR," said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Research Associate Muzaffar Suleymanov.
"Authorities should stop repressing the regional media and allow journalists to fulfill their public duty by reporting on official actions," he added.
On Tuesday, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has said that Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians who live in Crimea and oppose the annexation of the peninsula by Russia are facing reprisals and threats to their lives from the local authorities.
The statement by the Foreign Ministry came after Natalia Poklonska, who was appointed as Crimea's Chief Prosecutor by the pro-Russian regime after its annexation by Russia in March, openly threatened to deport anyone who opposed the annexation.
Shortly after her appointment as Chief Prosecutor by the pro-Russian regime led by Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, Poklonskaya threatened the Crimean Tatar Mejlis (Parliament) with closure after they organized protests for exiled former Mejlis head Mustafa Jemilev.
The Crimean Tatar Mejlis, which was founded in 1991 to act as a representative body for Crimean Tatars after their return from almost five decades in exile, was seized by the pro-Russian authorities last week after a raid by Russian FSB officers.
Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev, who is now based in Ukraine's Kiev after being deported due to his opposition to the annexation, called the seizure of Crimea Fund building, “a robbery raid.”
Current Mejlis head Refat Chubarov, who is also living in exile, said that the Crimean Tatar people have got no choice but to comply with the demands of the authorities.
The Crimean Tatars have largely opposed the annexation of Crimea by Russia, fearing a repeat of the events of 1944 when they were completely expelled as part of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's policy.
They gradually started returning in the early 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union, but still live as a minority in their homeland as they were displaced by ethnic Russian settlers who migrated there later on.Last Mod: 26 Eylül 2014, 12:50