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Funding gap of Public broadcaster stiffens its functioning – EU report

02.12.2020, 13:39
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The National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine (NPTU) remains underfunded, which stiffens the functioning of the channel. This is said in the annual report of the European Union on the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, released on December 1 in Brussels, ahead of the meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council, which will take place on December 8, as Interfax-Ukraine reported.

“Elsewhere, states continued to fail to properly fund public broadcasters. In Ukraine, UA:PBC’s severe budget problems continued for the third year in a row, failing to meet the requirement of adequate funding contained in the law that is designed to transform the state broadcaster into an open and accountable network”,the report said. " Ukraine still needs to pass audiovisual media legislation that would bring it into line with EU law," the report said referring to Ukraine’s commitment under the Association Agreement.

The EU emphasized that this law was important for enhancing the regulatory role of the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting, as its activities were vital for ensuring transparency of media ownership, equal conditions for media market participants and resistance to misinformation.

At the same time, the EU noted that media freedom was still widely valued in Ukraine, a notable achievement in the context of Russian disinformation campaigns.

However, the EU also emphasized that the cases of physical attacks (some fatal) and intimidation of journalists and media workers in Ukraine were still happenening.

The report also noted that the investigation into the murder of well-known journalist Pavel Sheremet had so far yielded no results.

In addition, the EU noted that the law on electronic communications (passed by parliament, not signed by the president and returned to the committees for revision) was an important step towards sectoral reform and approximation of Ukrainian legislation with EU legislation on the digital single market.

As IMI reported, on October 23, NGOs called on the Verkhovna Rada not to include in the agenda the draft law №4230 , which proposes to remove from the law on Public Broadcasting the norm of mandatory state funding of 0.2% of the state budget.

On October 19, Oleksandr Kachura, a MP from the “Servant of the People” faction, registered the draft law №4230 , which proposes to remove a separate line in the State Budget on mandatory state funding of 0.2% of the general budget of Ukraine for the previous year.

The government has budgeted 2 billion 274 million 158 thousand hryvnias for financial support of the NPTU for 2021.On April 13, 2020, the Verkhovna Rada adopted amendments to the Law "On the State Budget for 2020", which, in particular, provides for the financial support of the National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine UAH 1.5 billion (reduced by UAH 178 million).

In 2020, the state budget of Ukraine allocated UAH 1 billion 711 million 516 thousand (around $79 millions) for the financing of NPTU, which is UAH 300 million less than provided by the Law "On Public Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine".

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