Posted at 0001hrs BST 31 March 2015
All but one of independent Crimean Tatar-language media outlets – including those providing children’s entertainment – will be shut down on 1 April as the midnight deadline expires for re-registration under a Russian law, Amnesty International said.
Despite submitting applications in good time, Crimean Tatar-language publications, websites and broadcast outlets that have been arbitrarily refused re-registration or not heard back from the licensing authorities, will be forced to close. Failure to do so will lead to heavy fines and criminal prosecutions.
“At the stroke of midnight, all but one Crimean Tatar language media outlets, which have come under a sustained assault since the Russian annexation, will fall silent,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.
“This blatant attack on freedom of expression, dressed-up as an administrative procedure, is a crude attempt to stifle independent media, gag dissenting voices, and intimidate the Crimean Tatar community.”