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Council of Europe's platform warned away of adding state-run broadcaster DOM to Universal Program Service

14.02.2022, 17:46

On February 11, the Council of Europe's Platform for the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists registered a complaint about an attempt to add state-run Dom TV channel to Universal Program Service, making of it an all-Ukrainian broadcaster, as Detector Media reported.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) have filed a complaint. Now the Ukrainian government will have to formally justify its intentions in the light of Council of Europe standards.

“Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has expressed concern about the revival of state broadcasting, which would be a step backwards from the progress made in improving the independence of the media in Ukraine. It has called on President Zelensky and Members of Parliament to remove this clause and to take measures to ensure the independence of Dom”, the alert on the Platform read.

The complaint noted that the parliament was going to consider in the second reading the draft law #4487 on Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced Persons”.

The bill proposed to include the state-run Russian-language TV channel Dom to the Universal Program Service, a list of broadcast channels that are mandatory for all cable operators throughout Ukraine.

According to the author of the bill , these provisions are aimed “to expand state broadcasting in the Russian-language, to satisfy "the information needs of internally displaced persons in the unoccupied territories of Ukraine". But these needs are currently met by a variety of public, commercial and municipal TV channels.

According to Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1466 (2005) “Honouring of obligations and commitments by Ukraine”, the country must “turn state broadcasters into Public Service Broadcasters in accordance with relevant Council of Europe standards”. A related report by Anna Severinsen and Renata Wohlwend indicates: “We call on the authorities to continue the process of eliminating state-owned media, as the existence of state-owned media is contrary to European standards.”

It will be recalled that As IMI reported, on January 26, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy instructed its chairman Mykyta Poturayev to submit a proposal to withdraw the draft law #4487 “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine“ On Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced Persons ” which is supposed to repurpose TV channel Dom. The members of the committee referred to meaningfulness and tenability of changes to the media legislation, as well as compliance of the above amendments with the requirements of the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada.

On January 27, the Verkhovna Rada is going to consider  the draft law on amendments to the Law of Ukraine №4487 “On Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced Persons” in the second reading. Once adopted, the document will give the state-run Russian-language channel Dom, which was set up to broadcast to the temporarily occupied territories, the national status.

The Media Movement has opposed the strengthening and reorientation of state media (including the Dom and Rada TV channels), which have recently taken place at the behest of the president, his team and the Servant of the People parliamentary faction.

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