Crimea's independent TV station goes off amid Russia bureaucratic stonewalling

Crimea's independent television station ATR has gone off air after Russian authorities repeatedly refused to give it a broadcasting license.

ATR was established as the first channel dedicated to the Crimean Tatars, an native ethnic group of about 300,000 that was deported from the region by the Soviet authorities in 1944. The TV channel was a rare critical voice during Russia's annexation of Crimea last year and continued its critical coverage afterward.

Like other local media outlets ATR had to get a Russian broadcasting license to continue operating in Crimea.

Lenur Islamov, ATR's founder, said on Monday four of its filings have been rejected on technicalities. Because of that they now have "no legal grounds" to continue broadcasting starting April 1.

ATR went off air at midnight on Monday.