Archive for November 14th, 2017


2018 – The year of The Enlightenment in Ukraine (by Presidential Decree)

November 14, 2017

In the 18th Century the epoch of The Enlightenment within France, Germany and the UK occured.

In broad brushstrokes, it was a century of intellectually and philosophically driven promotion of freedoms, democracy, and of values based society.  An exploration of rights – and of duties.

14th November witnessed President Poroshenko sign Presidential Decree – “I have the right!”

This Presidential Decree – “I have the right!” – is a declared “enlightenment project” relating to the promotion of citizens rights and constituency awareness, to be delivered via public broadcasting and public service announcements both nationally and through regional media channels., notwithstanding a requirement for local government outreach programmes.

Very good – and not before time!

Whether such PSAs are expected to be delivered free by private broadcasters is somewhat unclear.

No doubt many privately owned broadcasters (99.99% of broadcasters) will be loathed to surrender advertising time to deliver a free PSA – and for a PSA to have the maximum impact it requires not only longevity of a campaign, but also to be delivered at peak viewer/listener times.

It is also unclear whether there is any expected “I have the right!” PSA delivery quotas per channel and/or station, or whether a 3 minute slot once a month qualifies as adherence.

Private broadcasters begrudgingly delivering a free PSA “I have the right!” announcement to meet any expected quotas at 0330 in the morning – even if it is every morning for a year – is hardly going to have the impact of delivery during “prime time advertising” slots.

This process of enlightenment has little to do with the existing free legal aid, (though it should certainly include a “reminder” about the free legal aid policy – for no doubt there will still be those that are not aware of its existence) – but appears to be a more proactive project toward educating the Ukrainian constituency about their constitutional and other legal rights.

The goal clearly is providing a far better legal awareness across the entirety of the Ukrainian population.  After all, within the framework of the law, how will they know if they have been wronged if they don’t know what is a right – and how will they know what is their right, if they are under the impression it is wrong?

There is undeniably a need for this programme, for there is certainly a great many Ukrainians who are if not ignorant, then certainly unsure of their legal rights – but which rights will be included in this “enlightenment programme” (aside from Constitutional rghts) – and which will be excluded?

Equal rights?  Fundamental rights?  Constitutional Rights?  Consumer rights?  Land rights?  Property rights?  Search and seizure rights? Labour/employment rights?  And so it goes on.

Does such a positive and proactive education programme have negative effects if some rights are not included – and therefore deemed not to be rights simply by their omission by the constituency?

There will no doubt be an institutional and governance response to this “Enlightenment Decree”.  The 2019 elections for president and parliament follow the 2018 “Year of Enlightenment – “I have the right!” programme, but as always with regard to Ukraine, it is the matter of implementation where failure is most often to be found.

Phone lines/hot lines will undoubtedly be set up (whether they are staffed by people that can definitively provide advice on legal rights is a different question entirely).

Most broadcasters will adhere.  The questions are how, and in what spirit they will adhere?

Leaflets will be printed by the millions – but how and if they will be distributed effectively remains to be seen.

Should Ukrposhta be tasked with delivery to every Ukrainian address?  If so, will the leaflets actually arrive before the end of 2018, if at all, considering its woeful delivery service?

Perhaps the State owned banks (particularly Privat) should be “actively encouraged” to distribute them to bank customers when attending their local branch?

It would certainly be foolish to expect to distribute them solely via local government buildings over the course of a year if impact is to be maximised – the most effective distribution points are where people go often (if leaflets are not to be delivered directly to homes).  That means banks, supermarkets et al

Will there be downloadable e-leaflets – which would begin to provide statistics to measure real distribution – if not necessarily real understanding.

How will this project be benchmarked?  What are the KPIs?

Leaflet distribution to distribution hubs, does not equate to distribution throughout the constituency – thousands of leaflets may stay in boxes under a table for the duration of the programme for example.

How will PSA announcements be monitored across all broadcasters?  What repercussions, if any, will there be for those that don’t comply?

Most importantly of course, is measuring how the level of legal rights awareness expands across the polity – which is the entire point of the programme.  Will it be measured before, during, and after the 2018 programme?  Is it to be measured on breadth or depth of understanding?  What will be deemed too shallow an understanding to be deemed failure?  Or to narrow?

In promoting citizens rights, will the inherent duties of a citizen also be stated?

In the pursuit of excellence it does not pay throw out the good.  However, it equally does not pay to declare a programme failure a success.  If it fails, why did it fail?  How can it be tweaked to be a success?

What were the qualitative and quantitative results of previous “Year of” Presidential Decrees?  Are there appropriate lessons to be learned?  Or not?

The Year of the English language, or the Year of the German language?  What were the results?  How were they measured?  Does anybody know?  Did anything actually happen once those Presidential Decrees were made?

To be fair, there is every reason to expect greater impact and a more active attempt at implementation across Ukrainian society with legal “enlightenment” than that of the previous language decrees – and the blog is as supportive of the “Year of x language” decrees and it is supportive of this “Enlightenment Decree”.

Nevertheless, when it comes to such an important issue as a nationwide understanding of a citizens rights – what will be deemed a success?

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