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Kremlin says up to media watchdog to decide on Crimea’s ATR TV channel

April 01, 2015, 14:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW
ATR, the world’s only Crimean Tatar-language TV channel, established in Crimea in 2005, suspended broadcasting on Wednesday after failing to meet the deadline for registration under the Russian law
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© Alexei Pavlishak/TASS

MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. The Kremlin is not in charge of issues related to the shutdown of Crimean Tatar-language ATR TV channel and it is up to Russian media watchdog or other oversight bodies to decide on its fate, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

"This is not the responsibility of the Kremlin," Peskov said. "We have Roskomnadzor (media watchdog), oversight and licensing bodies, and it’s up to them to take the decision." "This is the matter of mass media’s communication with these bodies," he added.

ATR, the world’s only Crimean Tatar-language TV channel, was established in Crimea in 2005. It suspended broadcasting on Wednesday after failing to meet the deadline for registration under the Russian law.

The chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis, Ravil Gaynutdin, said on Tuesday ATR is "one of a few channels aimed at preserving and accumulating the national cultural heritage of the Crimean Tatar people."

He said the TV channel faced the shutdown in the coming days due to the lack of licence of Roskomnadzor.

"The shutdown of ATR channel and other media outlets that are part of the same-name media holding will become a huge blow to the Crimean Tatar people and a great loss for its culture," he said.

The mufti also said for Crimea as a Russian federal subject and Russia in general this could result in "serious risks for the integration of Crimean Tatars in the Russian political and legal space and cultural and historic space."

The shutdown of the only non-state TV channel of Crimean Tatars could lead to "a marginalization of public and cultural life of the Crimean Tatar community" and "will clear the way for stepping up the activities of organizations and movements that have extreme positions."

A week ago, Russia’s presidential council for civil society and human rights asked Roskomnadzor to take measures in an effort to prevent the shutdown of Crimean Tatar media outlets.

On April 1, the deadline for the registration of Crimea’s mass media with the Russian media watchdog expired.

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