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Head of National TV prohibits employees commenting without Press Service OK


The Director General of the National Television Company of Ukraine [NTCU] Yehor Benkendorf has forbidden members of staff from providing the media with information about NTCU without agreeing this with the Press Service.

Instruction No. 23 states that in order to provide accurate information about NTCU activities, “the heads of all sections, presenters and employees are informed that all information which concerns any NTCU activities should be provided to the media solely after being agreed with the Head of the Department for Public and Media Relations”.

If this instruction is not complied with, staff are warned that the disciplinary measures in Article 147 of the Code of Labour Laws may be applied. These include reprimands and dismissal.

“Telekritika” says that according to their information, such rules apply for commercial channels. Roman Holovenko , lawyer for the Institute for Mass Information says that there is no clear prohibition in law on such rules, however “given that NTCU is a State-owned television company, it should be open to the public and other media outlets. The public should know what is happening on this television channel since it is financed from public money. The management should be able to restrict only certain information.”

Mr Holovenko believes that the instruction is designed to stop information spreading about restructuring and redundancies, but believes it is unlikely to work. Staff of NTCU are also concerned since the instruction prohibits the passing of information to media representatives, rather than representatives of other media outlets, which could in principle apply to internal information flow.

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