KIEV – Nearly all the Crimean Tatar media were shut down on Wednesday after Russia, which annexed the peninsula from the Ukrainian republic in March 2014, denied them operating licenses.
“Today we stop emitting, but we will be back. We always come back,” promised the director general of Tatar ATR television, Lilia Budzhurova, bidding farewell to viewers.
After the annexation of Crimea one year ago, Russia ordered that all media outlets in the peninsula renew their licenses before March 31, 2015.
ATR TV, which broadcasted in the Tatar, Ukrainian, and Russian languages, sent the required documentation three times to registered for a renewed media license, but on all three occasions was rejected by Russian authorities.
The same fate befell Crimean Tatar-language agency QHA news, the children’s television channel Lale, the Maydan radio station, the Avdet newspaper, among others.
The Crimean Tatars, a minority of about 250,000 people who make up 12 percent of the population of the peninsula, opposed the annexation of Crimea to Russia, and denounced perpetual harassment by Moscow ever since.