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NGOs opposed against state group of companies for television and radio broadcasting

21.12.2021, 12:34

Public organizations in the field of media and protection of freedom of speech consider inadmissible the initiative of the MP Oleg Dunda to create the State Information Group of Companies of Television and Radio Broadcasting and call on him to withdraw the relevant bill №6430.

This is stated in the statement of the organizations.

According to the statement, the creation of the group of companies in the form of a joint stock company violates current legislation of Ukraine, as the group of companies is a separate organizational and legal form and is defined as the statutory association of enterprises and other organizations, and not a joint stock company involving the government bodies.

"The project #6430 proposed to eliminate public broadcasting, foreign broadcasting and instead to create a structure similar to the one that existed before the spring of 1991 - the State Television and Radio of the USSR, which operated divisions of broadcasting and content production, as well as censorship," the statement said.

Beyond this, the bill imposes on private broadcasters mandatory placement of at least 25% of national content created in accordance with the terms of reference of the Scientific Expert Council of the State Information Group of Companies. This, according to the statement, is a violation of editorial freedom and free competition. 

"Such a legislative initiative is an imitation of solving problems that exist in the national media landscape, such as positioning of foreign broadcasting, increasing support and improving the quality of films produced with state support. And most importantly, is a direct attempt to deprive Ukrainian citizens of independent public broadcasting that took a lot of time and efforts to be created, " the statement said. 

In addition, the authors of the statement note that the formula for solving the problems proposed by the bill is a way to state censorship, which will negatively affect the quality of information that citizens will consume. 

This document will not overcome the problem of "protecting our citizens from the consumption of information spam imposed by the Kremlin", but will be a direct copy of the worst practices of the Russian Federation, including in the non-existence of independent public service broadcasting. Moreover, such an initiative is an outright disrespect for institutions that actively work on the production and dissemination of quality Ukrainian content: the Ukraine’s Cultural Foundation, the Book Institute, the State Cinema, Public Broadcasting and many other private initiatives, bloggers and communities. support produces or publishes a quality cultural product, "the statement said.

 

actively work on the development and dissemination of quality Ukrainian content: Ukrainian Culture Foundation, Book Institute, State Films Agency, Public Broadcasting and many other private initiatives, bloggers and communities that produce or publish a quality cultural product without any state support, "the statement said.

In addition, NGOs stressed that the creation of public service broadcasting is Ukraine's commitment to the Council of Europe, of which Ukraine is a member. 

The statement was signed by: NGO "Center for Democracy and Rule of Law", NGO "Center for Media Reform", Mohyla School of Journalism, NGO "Institute for Regional Press Development", NGO "Institute of Mass Information", NGO "Human Rights Platform", NGO "Ukrainian Institute of Media and Communications ", NGO "Suspilnist Foundation ", Independent Media Council, Philip Orlyk Institute for Democracy.

As IMI reported, on December 15Oleh Dunda, a MP from the “Servant of the People” faction, proposes to the Verkhovna Rada to establish the State Group of Companies of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine on the basis of the National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine, the State Enterprise Multimedia Platform of Foreign Broadcasting of Ukraine and the State Film Agency of Ukraine. This is said in his bill #6430, which he registered in parliament on December 15.

According to the bill, the State Information Concern of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine is formed in the form of a joint-stock company, 100% of the shares of which belong to the state.

The concern is subordinated to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

As IMI lawyer Ali Safarov said that the submitted bill on the establishment of the State Group of Companies of Television and Radio Broadcasting has significant threats to freedom of speech in Ukraine.

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