Expert opinion: the new law will not ensure sufficient media openness


The new draft law which binds Ukrainian media outlets to publish lists of their owners does not adequately comply with the requirements of the Council of Europe, and needs to be refined before its second reading. This was the opinion expressed to “Deutsche Welle” by the Director of the Institute for Mass Information, Viktoria Syumar.
Ms Syumar says that the requirement contained in the draft law voted for on Wednesday to publish founders still fails to ensure that the public know which politicians or oligarchs are behind any given television channel or publication. The first level founders may also have other founders. And all this, as a result, ends in some offshore companies which will never provide information about who owns their accounts, what profits they get from this or that media outlet”. Ms Syumar said that this problem was an aspect of the lack of transparency as regards ownership in general in Ukraine. She did not exclude the possibility that some Deputies, themselves the real owners of Ukrainian media outlets, will try to prevent improvements being made to the document. However given the public importance of media activity, she believes, the draft law needs to be supplemented by mechanisms enabling the public to know in detail who is actually behind each television and radio company or printed publication.

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