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Authorities can take control of Suspilne’s supervisory board by changing law – Ostapa

09.11.2021, 17:52

Svitlana Ostapa, the head of the supervisory board of the National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine (NPTU), does not exclude that the authorities might decide to make some appropriate changes to the law on the Public broadcaster and establish full control over Suspilne.

She said this interviewed by, as Detektor Media reported.

Svitlana Ostapa recalled that in summer the deputy head of the Office of President of Ukraine Kyrylo Tymoshenko in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine said that, in his opinion, Suspilne worked in an ineffective way and this was necessarily that to the supervisory board and head of the supervisory board was appointed the Cabinet of Ministers. Then NPTU claimed this was an attack on the independence of the public broadcaster. In September, the Ukrainian government responded to a complaint on the Council of Europe's platform about the threat to the independence of the National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine due to a statement of Kyrylo Tymoshenko, spokesman for the President’s Office, noting that "Kyrylo Tymoshenko expressed his opinion, as he answered the questions of the press during an interview and he did not make any separate statement." 

"I think that this idea has not vanished in the Office of the President and it could be implemented through amendments to the law on Suspilne," she said.

Journalist Tetyana Nikolayenko asked Svitlana Ostapa, if she thought the authorities would decide to establish full control over the Suspilne.

"I do not exclude it. But in this case it will be a complete regress of the reform and a return to state broadcasting. Ukraine has been creating a Suspilne for 20 years. The Revolution of Dignity started this reform. I hope MPs remember it," Svitlana Ostapa said.

Svitlana Ostapa found that it was difficult for now to establish control over the Suspilne’s Supervisory Board, because it is elected as follows: nine representatives from the public sphere, which are prescribed by law, the rest are delegated from parliamentary groups and factions. It should not be politicians and officials, but experts who want to make reforms.

"As things stand now, most members of the supervisory board want to make reforms. We have clearly defined powers in the law: we address key strategic issues of the company - from the election of executive management to approval of annual plans and audit results; do not interfere in editorial policy, current business activities; we select five members of the editorial board and approve the editorial charter, and then the editorial board monitors its implementation. By the way, it is effectual on our TV channel, and, unlike many TV channels, it is alive, "said the chairman of the NPTU supervisory board. 

We will remind, the president Volodymyr Zelensky called Suspilne the state television.

As IMI reported, on October 19, Myroslava Barchuk, the host of the talk show "Countdown" (Zvorotniy Vidlik) on the UA: Pershiy TV channel, stated that the staff of the President's Office was making pressure on the program. According to the presenter, subordinates to the head of the Office of President Andriy Yermak accused the talk show of not meeting professional standards (lack of the balance of opinions in the program aired on October 18) and set their conditions for the presence of deputies from the "Servant of the People" in the studio. The candidates for the programs are accorded with the person of contact of M. Podolyak (Advisor to the Chairman Office of the President (OP). - Ed. ) in the President’s Office.

The President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that the President's Office did not coordinate the participation of MPs in air programs on TV channels, especially on Suspilne. Volodymyr Zelensky said it at a press briefing on October 20 in Zolotonosha (Cherkaska region),

On October 22, the Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said that Suspilne received full funding, and Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksander Tkachenko expressed dissatisfaction with the broadcaster's ratings.

In the draft state budget for 2022, UAH 1.8 billion was allocated for Suspile, funding it UAH 526 million short. According to the bill, expenditures on NSTU in 2022 should amount to UAH 2,394.7 million. Since 2017, the newly created Suspilne broadcaster has never received full funding from the state.

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