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A note on A NOTE – Public Broadcasting in Ukraine

June 6, 2016

In mid-April an entry appeared regarding the glacial progress toward a public broadcaster in Ukraine – something to which Ukraine committed itself in 2005 – “The point of public broadcasting, and a national public broadcaster, is one of a public service – communicating with and engaging the citizen first and foremost.

To do so there are obviously several prerequisites, such as being broadcast nationally and having universal appeal across the national constituency.  Ergo a public broadcaster strives to be inclusive and reach majority and minorities alike, assisting in the creation of a national identity and sense of common purpose/community.  Thus the guidelines for a national public broadcaster are therefore liberating rather than restricting.

It is an entity either directly funded by the State, and/or universal payment, (a Licence Fee), in order to to be free of vested interests with regard to private funding.

As such its programming would seek to be qualitative and unbiased and measured that way, rather than by viewer numbers or advertising revenue – should there be any advertising at all.

So much so obvious.”

Significant legislative progress was made in April 2015 – not before time – and yet a State Broadcaster has still yet to appear.

It has failed to appear because the State Owned Entities , or one in particular that was/is to be part of the foundation of the State Broadcaster, was not in any hurry to adhere to the newly passed legislation.  The preventative issue, apparently, property rights via a historical legacy of previously nefarious acts – unsurprisingly.

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Nevertheless, the situation existed where an asset owned by the State was obstructing the State and State statute therefore preventing Ukraine finally making good on an obligation made more than a decade ago.  Those “organisational issues” are currently unresolved – however it appears that President Poroshenko has nonetheless signed into law legislation that requires the creation of a Public Broadcaster posthaste (whilst the Presidential website recognises the current issues still to be resolved).

“Президент підписав Закон, що розблоковує реформу Суспільного мовлення в України

06 Червня 2016 – 15:47

Президент підписав Закон, що розблоковує реформу Суспільного мовлення в   України

Президент Петро Порошенко підписав Закон України «Про внесення зміни до Закону України «Про Суспільне телебачення і радіомовлення України» щодо порядку приєднання державного підприємства «Українська студія телевізійних фільмів «Укртелефільм».

Цим документом усуваються перешкоди у створенні Національної суспільної телерадіокомпанії України.

У 2005 році Україна взяла на себе зобов’язання перед Радою Європи щодо перетворення державних телерадіокомпанії в канали Суспільного мовлення згідно з відповідними європейськими стандартами. Реформу державного телерадіомовлення було розпочато у квітні 2014 року, але й до сьогодні існує низка організаційних проблем, врегулювання яких потребує внесення змін до законодавства про суспільне мовлення.”

Hasty amendments to the 2015 legislation seem inevitable to mitigate and/or solve the “property issues” and therefore remove the “organisational issues” preventing the State from having its State Owned Enterprises adhere to the laws of the State.

How swiftly any legislative amendments will atop the Verkhovna Rada voting agenda is unknown.  Thus quite when a Ukrainian State Broadcaster (even if it could theoretically go “live” immediately) will now become an “on air” transmitting reality remains unknown – as is whether what eventually emerges will meet the expectations of a State broadcasting entity.

Nevertheless, this does perhaps represent progress – in a Ukrainian SOE tail wagging the Ukrainian State dog kinda way.

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