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Media Movement called on government and parliament to hold consultations with NPTU on budget cuts

30.03.2020, 15:09
Photo credit: radiosvoboda.org
Photo credit: radiosvoboda.org

The Media Movement for Conscious Choice has called on the Cabinet of Ministers and the Verkhovna Rada to hold consultations with the Supervisory Board and management of the National Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (NPTU) in order to fix expenditures level for 2020, which is to support functioning of the group of radio stations and public television channels in the period of emergency. This is said in the statement of the Media Movement, as Detektor Media reported.

The Government intends to review the state budget expenditure, in particular, to significantly reduce the funding of NЗTU by about UAH 480 million (about $17 mln). In addition, the Public TV has a debt inherited from the state TV and Radio Company of Ukraine of almost 350 million (about 13,5 mln).

The Media Movement signatories are aware of the need to save money in all areas of the state budget, which is caused by a pandemic and an emergency in Ukraine.

At the same time, they said that the Public Broadcaster, as an object of critical infrastructure, should be provided with at least a minimum cost of living - for wages, broadcasting of radio and television channels, tax-paying funds, and debt for Euronews, inherited from former state television.

Such a significant reduction in funding will result in the complete suspension of the holding, which is two national TV channels ("UA: Pershy" and "UA: Culture"), three national radio channels (Ukrainske radio, "Promin" and "Cultura"), regional channels and digital platforms.

"We emphasize that, because of such a drastic cut in funding for the National Public Broadcasting, which provides citizens with only high-quality, verified and balanced information, citizens may find themselves in a bubble of white noise, misinformation that will promote panic in society," the statement said.

Members of Media Movement called on the government and parliament to hold consultations with the supervisory board and management of PJSC "NPTU" to determine the level of expenditures for 2020, which will provide an opportunity to support functioning of the group of radio stations and TV channels of NPTU for quality information to citizens in times of emergency.

As IMI reported, on March 27, the National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine (NPTU) addressed the government with a letter saying that a decrease in funding could lead to a total shutdown of the Public Broadcasting Company.

The Public broadcaster asks the government not to reduce the costs of the broadcasting company and to reconsider its intentions to reduce cultural spending.

On March 25, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy announced that the Ministry of Finance is preparing amendements to the state budget, in particular, cutting funding for all activities of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. They remain only maintenance costs, that is, salary.

According to the Committee, the Ministry of Finance wants to reduce 750 million UAH (around $26 mln) for the Ukrainian state film agency UAH, 500 million UAH (around $ 17 mln) for Ukrainian Cultural Fund, 150 million UAH (around 4% mln) for the Ukrainian Institute of Book, 240 million UAH for tourism (around $9 mln) and more than 500 million UAH (around $17 mln) for “sewing prorams” that have to unite Ukraine, restoration works for the protection of historical and cultural heritage, information policy programs.

On March 25, several media organizations and media representatives urged MPs to take steps to support mass media in the context of restrictive anti-epidemic measures through the COVID-19 pandemic.

February 28 Public broadcaster reported that on February 18, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine initiated enforcement proceedings on the recovery of Public Debt in the amount of 10 million 591 thousand 224 euros 48 cents and 73 080 UAH court fee (together this is 308 million UAH) in favor of the joint stock company "Euronews".

On March 10, the National Public Television and Radio Company of Ukraine (NSTU) appealed to the newly elected government to resolve the issue of blocking the company's accounts and withholding salaries to the employees of the Public.

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