Archive for June 12th, 2010

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TV politics………not politics on TV

June 12, 2010

Well dear readers, as many of you will be aware……as open letters from Channel 5 and TVi were placed in the Washington Post and Guardian I believe, stating they will have their broadcasting licences withdrawn and citing political pressure as reasons for the last bandwith competition being overturned by the Ukrainian Courts……not to mention Ms Tymoshenko stating she will go to PACE claiming the overturning of the broadcasting bandwidths licenced under her time in power is illegal and a power grab by the current government in the media……..the reasons for the overturning are legally quite correct…..despite any obnoxious political motivation behind it.

The licencing council in Ukraine is composed of eight members appointed on a 5 year tenure and council decisions can be taken if six council members are present.
However, only five council members were present at the TV and radio council meeting when the new frequencies were awarded to TVi and Channel 5, and the lack of quorum was the official reason for the court appeal by Inter.

Judge Blazhivska said the frequency allocation was illegal because of the lack of a quorum on the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting.  Moreover, Blazhivska found that a ban on assigning analog frequencies went in effect on Jan. 1 as the digital era starts.

Now, if Inter, the complainant in this case had faired much better and TVi and Channel 5 had come out worst, the fact there were only 5 and not the legally required 6 council members would have been interpreted as a governmental grab (due to the political associations of senior PoR deputies with Inter Group)……and similar complaints would have been filed by those now stating they are being victimised.
Now rule of law is a major foreign and domestic issue relating to Ukraine.  I would advise Ms Tymoshenko not to going running to PACE (again), claiming media manipulation by the government when nobody including the complainants, is disputing that there were only 5 and not the legally required 6 council members required to issues the licences for the bandwidths. 
I happen to be a huge fan of Channel 5 news as it is unbiased compared to the majority (with the exception of live debates such as Kiselov’s Big Politics), but if Ukraine is to eventually go by the law and not political whims, then this allocation was rightfully overturned as the legal requirements were not satisifed.
Illegal press manipulation and pressure on freedom of speech is one thing (and something that should be condemned as well as resisted), but despite this, it seems regardless of the politics involved, the law was not adhered too.
It is once again the typical Ukrainian mentality of enforce the law you corrupt people in the administration……unless that law applies to me and I have fallen foul of it!
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