Draft Law on Public Broadcasting registered in Parliament
A draft law on public broadcasting which envisages transformation of the State television and radio broadcasting company into a public broadcasting system has been submitted to the Verkhovna Rada by Andriy Shevchenko, Vladislav Kaskiv and Yevhen Suslov.
The draft has been drawn up by specialists from the Media Law Institute, the Institute for Mass Information and the Public Media Centre. According to its authors, the document is based on Council of Europe recommendations and drafts prepared by Ukrainian NGOs from 2005-2011.
According to the new draft law, public broadcasting will work “in the interests of the Ukrainian people” with interference by State bodies in its work being prohibited. The highest managerial body will be a council made up of 15 members, 9 being chosen by parliamentary factions, and the other 6 members elected by a conference of civic organizations working in the media sphere. There will be a General Director, elected by the Council through open tender for a term of 3 years.
Advertising will be prohibited, with public broadcasting financed through public funding. The independence of funding will be safeguarded via a separate item in the State Budget and a fixed amount, being 0.05% of the Budgetary expenditure. There would be an annual report and independent audit.
According to media lawyer, Dmytro Kotlyar, “the draft law was drawn up taking into account international standards, the existing legal base and a realistic assessment of the situation in Ukraine”. There is therefore no populist stand, for example, the formation of a supervisory body by thousands of civic organizations. That would probably become an instrument for the authorities to establish control.”
Taras Shevchenko, Director of the Media Law Institute adds: “Our law makes it harder to create fictitious public broadcasting. It is in this that the draft most differs from that drawn up by the President’s Administration”.
Public broadcasting is one of Ukraine’s obligations to the Council of Europe. The last draft law on public broadcasting in June 2009 gained 202 votes, with those for being from BYuT (Tymoshenko’s bloc), Lytvyn’s bloc and some of the members of Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence.