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G7 Ambassadors: public service broadcasting is one of the key elements of a sustainable democracy

22.11.2021, 16:02

The Ambassadorsof the G7 to Ukraine met with Svitlana Ostapa, chair of the Public Broadcasting Supervisory Board, and Oksana Romanyuk, Executive Director of the Institute of Mass Information, as Detector Media reported.

The parties discussed the issues the Public Broadcaster (Suspilne) is facing, including insufficient funding and the issue of independence, as well as the wider challenges of the independent media.

"The ambassadors emphasized their position that the independent media, in particular the credible and impartial Public Broadcaster, are a key pillar of a strong and sustainable democracy, as well as their commitment to protect them in Ukraine ," the statement said.

Earlier, the Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkachenko said that the Public Broadcaster received full funding, the chairman of the board Mykola Chernotytsky called it a manipulation. He found there were two manipulative ideas: " The first manipulation: full funding. Funding in 2021 was at the level of 85% of the law. The draft budget for 2022 was at 76%."

We will remind, The Cabinet of Ministers has reduced the funding of the National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine (NPTU) by UAH 1,950,000 (about $74 447).

The relevant order #1371 "On the redistribution of some state budget expenditures provided for the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy for 2021" of November 3 was published on the government portal. 

According to the order, the government redistributed state budget expenditures in the amount of UAH 1,950,000 by reducing expenditures under the program "Financial Support of the National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine" and increasing expenditures under the program "Scientific and scientific-technical activities in the field of mass media, book publishing and information and bibliographic activities ”.

This redistribution was made in order to settle arrears to employees of the Ivan Fedorov Book Chamber,”  as Interfax-Ukraine reported.

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

IMI reported, that the draft state budget for 2022 allocated UAH 1.8 billion for Public broadcaster Suspilne, with an underfunding of UAH 526 million. According to the law, expenditures on NPTU in 2022 should amount to UAH 2,394.7 million (about $ 91 thousand).

On October 20, the parliament dropped the amendment aiming to increase funds for the National Public Televsion and radio Company of Ukraine (NPTU) while passing a draft resolution "On Conclusions and Proposals to the Draft Law of Ukraine on the State Budget of Ukraine for 2022". The amendment was submitted by the Humanitarian and Information Policy Committee and the MP from “European Solidarity" Volodymyr Vyatrovych.

As IMI reported, 2 billion 274 million 158 thousand hryvnyas (around $ 82 million) have been scheduled for the Suspilne public broadcaster in the state budget for 2021. From the general, the sum of 1,874,158.0 UAH was allocated for Suspilne, of which 400 million is planned by a special fund, which is replenished by taxes from the lottery business. According to the head of the NPTU board, Mykola Chernotitsky, the NPTU did not receive this 400 million.

Since 2017, the newly created Suspilne broadcaster has never received full funding from the state.

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