Public broadcasting aired again

On Thursday of a week which began with Stop Censorship journalists being prevented from holding a protest outside the President’s residence Mezhyhirya to remand him of his promise to show the place and included a damning European Parliament resolution criticizing selective prosecutions, the issue of public broadcasting was resurrected.

The newspaper Komersant – Ukraine reports that the Cabinet of Ministers approved the draft law “On a system of public television and radio broadcasting”.  This entails the coming of the National Television Company of Ukraine [NTCU] and the State Television and Radio Company “Kultura” into the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Company [NOTU]. It is planned that there will be two television channels and two radio stations.  NTCU employees are worried that this could lead to redundancies and doubt that NOTU will broadcast independent news.


The draft law drawn up by the State Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting was presented by the Head of the Committee, Yury Plaksyuk.


As reported, a Concept for Public Television was approved by the President’s Administration on 30 September 2010. This envisaged the creation of NOTU on the basis of NCTU. Supervision over the work of the public TV and radio company was to be undertaken by a supervisory council with representatives of the President’s Administration, the Cabinet of Ministers , each parliamentary faction, bodies of local self-government  and NGOs.


An alternative draft law on this issue was registered by Andriy Shevchenko and Yevhen Suslov, both from BYUT and Vladislav Kaskyv from Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence. Their document stipulated that choice of significant topics and events for coverage was to be up to the editorial board; envisaged both full public funding and a ban on advertising. The bill has not been considered by parliament.


It is proposed that NOTU would be financed from public funding for four years after which means would be received from various sources: subscription fees; sale of television and radio production; placing of State orders; voluntary and charitable contributions. An alternative source would be a two-percent fee from the cost of placing advertising and for subscribers to multi-channel networks from the cost of their subscription fee.


According to Anna Herman, Advisor to the President, the bill was “approved by all members of the government”. She says it will be submitted for President Yanukovych’s consideration, then the Verkhovna Rada’s.

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