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“Free media” holding acquired 100% corporate rights from Poroshenko's TV channels

08.11.2021, 20:51

Pryamy TV and 5th TV channels announced the creation of the “Free Media” media holding, which acquired 100% of the corporate rights from these TV channels.

This is said in a joint statement made by broadcasters, published on November 8 on the website of Pryamyy and The 5th.

According to Opendatabot, “Free Media” LLC has been registered on November 5. Its director is Diana Petrenya, the authorized capital is UAH 10,000.

The owners of “Free Media” LLC are journalists, public figures and opposition MPs who formerly were journalists. Among oether, there are Larisa Gubina, Iryna Gerashchenko, Svitlana Glukhovska, Volodymyr Mzhelsky, Dmytro Zhdanov, Volodymyr Aryev, Sviatoslav Tseholko, Iryna Friz, Yana Konotop, Victoria Syumar have 9% each, and limited liability company “TVchannel Pryamy”, enterprise with foreign investment in the form of a limited liability company "Television and Radio Company" NBM " have 5% each.

According to the statement of the TV channels, the media holding was formed, since threat to freedom of speech looms due to the new law on oligarchs. According to TV channels, this law is "aimed at fighting not the oligarchs, but the unpopular media and democratic opposition forces." 

“By adopting this law, Zelensky's team wants to switch on the manual control mode and get pressure levers on the independent media. By being aware of the danger that this law poses to the further financing and operation of independent media and opposition democratic forces, last Friday, we created a new media holding, Free Media”, the statement said.

The broadcasters emphasized that their labor collectives became the largest shareholder: "An additional 10% of the holding's shares are set aside for making the entire media labor collectives to take part in."

“In accordance with the requirements of anti-corruption legislation, MPs immediately handed over their shares to the management of TV channels, ie again to their labor collectives. In this way, they fully complied with the requirements of the law to avoid clash of interests and made provision that politicians would not be able anymore to put any pressure on the management of the TV channels or their editorial board or in any way interfere with the editorial and information policies of the TV channels, ”the statement said.

It is reported that the acquisition of 100% of corporate rights from these TV channels was made at market price. 

“The significant amount of the agreement reflects the significant contribution that the Poroshenkos and related companies have made to the creation, support and development of a free democratic press. The agreement provides for installments to pay the purchase price, the calculations will be made in accordance with the terms of the agreement, "- said in a statement.

It is noted that the documents of the agreement explicitly prohibit Petro Poroshenko from influencing the editorial policy of the channels in any way or otherwise exercising control over  “Free Media”.

The new owners of “Free Media” are going to sign an agreement with the channels not to interfere in editorial policy.

"We publicly declare that our goal is to preserve freedom of speech in Ukraine and prevent repression against independent media. Our labor collectives played an important role in the two democratic revolutions that ensured the country's European movement and its democratic development. Ukraine is Europe. And free media is an important institution for every democracy. We will not allow to wipe it out, "the statement said.

As it was reported, on November 5, the President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the Law “1780-IX” adopted by the Verkhovna Rada “On Prevention of Threats to National Security Related to Excessive Influence of Persons Who Have Significant Economic and Political Weight in Public Life (Oligarchs)”.

On November 3, the Verkhovna Rada adopted amendments to Bill #5599 , which define the status of a person listed by the National Security and Defense Council as an oligarch. 

On September 23, 2021, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in the second reading and in general the bill №5599 "On Prevention of Threats to National Security Related to Excessive Influence of Persons Who Have Significant Economic or Political Weight in Public Life (Oligarchs)".

On the same day, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence decided that the law on oligarchs needed a second vote to resolve the conflict of amendments.

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