Mr President, Don’t infringe the Constitution!
On Monday 15 March, the Media Law Institute, “Telekritika” and the Institute for Mass Information issued a statement regarding the appointment of a new head of the National Television Company of the Ukraine [NTCU] expressing their concern that this appointment might be unconstitutional. They point out that after the Constitutional Court on 15 September 2009 found Article 14 of the Law “On Television and Radio Broadcasting” dealing with procedure for the appointment and dismissal of the heads of NTCU and the National Radio Broadcasting Company of Ukraine [NRCU], this article had ceased to be in force. The statement reads that “the Constitutional Court in its judgment clearly wrote that the President of Ukraine and the Verkhovna Rada cannot have power with respect to the staffing of NTCU since such powers are not given them by the Constitution. In our opinion, the only correct way out of this situation is to urgently consider and pass amendments to the Law “On Television and Radio Broadcasting”, as recommended by the Constitutional Court.”
The authors point out that a draft law regulating this issue is on the parliamentary agenda for 1 April, and that the draft law in question, No. 2445 from 25.04.2008, was drawn up with the active participation of civic organizations and registered by National Deputy Andriy Shevchenko. They add that while this draft law requires amendments due to the judgment of the Constitutional Court, these could be added between the first and second readings.
They reiterate that neither the President nor the Verkhovna Rada, following the CCU judgment, have any right to appoint or dismiss the heads of NTCU and NTRU, and enjoin the President to not act in breach of the Constitution.