The EBU condemns as totally unacceptable a violent attack in which clearly identifiable members of Ukraine’s parliament forced the head of NTU, the country’s national television broadcaster, to resign.
In a videoed scene posted on YouTube, a group of members of Ukraine’s far-right nationalist party Svoboda, including MPs, invaded the office of NTU Director General a.i. Alexander Panteleymonov yesterday evening. The men are seen to manhandle and strike Panteleymonov while shouting at him to write a letter of resignation. He was later reportedly bundled into a car and driven away, before being released.
The EBU was unable to reach Mr Panteleymonov, but he is said by colleagues to be in a state of shock following the assault.
“On behalf of the EBU and all the public service broadcasters of Europe, we condemn this vicious attack on the director general of NTU,” EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot said in a statement from Geneva. “Such actions are totally unacceptable, and we call on the Ukrainian authorities to react swiftly and resolutely. Independent public service media and freedom of expression are indispensable to a proper democracy.”
A staff meeting at NTU today elected one of Mr Panteleymonov’s deputies, Yuriy Romanchuk, to head the broadcaster pending Mr Panteleymonov’s return. NTU switched off its signals for one minute to protest against the attack.