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Media organizations urged authorities to ensure access to professional media

15.05.2020, 18:50
Photo creditM
Photo creditM

The Ukrainian Media Business Association, the Association of Independent Regional Publishers of Ukraine and the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine urged the authorities to introduce a number of measures to ensure an uninterrupted and timely informing of Ukrainians, as well as an access to professional mass media. Such was the message of the renewed open letter from the media organizations sent to the Government, the Verkhovna Rada and the President of Ukraine.

“Suspending all types of business under lockdown has created a threats in terms of providing Ukrainians with quality information, which is prepared and published on the pages of newspapers, magazines and websites of Ukrainian publishing companies. The economic losses the publishers will have this year are antivipated at 50-90% of the level of income in 2019. This means that a large number of the local distribution editions will cease to exist. And this process is already underway, "- they said in theopen letter. 

“At the same time, local elections are scheduled for autumn 2020, so the importance of quality journalism for the protection of democratic freedoms in Ukraine is growing. We draw your attention to the fact that the weakening of the Ukraine mass media, which poses a significant threat to Ukraine's information security, is taking place in the context of intensified efforts to support its media by Ukraine's neighbor and aggressor country, Russian Federation, ”the statement reads.

The applicants urged the authorities to support such priority measures in order to ensure that Ukrainians had access to professional mass media as to socially important resource.

  1. To enter the press to the list of goods that should be accessed through working networks of grocery stores and supermarkets.
  2. To list the retail press outlets in the list of infrastructure facilities that should operate and ensure information security in Ukraine. Most newsstands also sell personal hygiene products (face masks, sanitizers) in the street, and, in fact, they are closed spaces where the seller and client are contacting one with other much more less, than the buyer and cashier at the supermarket.
  3. To ensure the option of an uninterrupted transportation of the press from printing houses to retail outlets for companies specializing in press logistics.
  4. To expand the list of places where press can be sold. To add the press to the commercial range of  goods to be sold in the supermarkets and pharmacies.
  5. To make Ukrposhta guarantee of timely delivery of the press to subscribers. To find ways for temporary (for the period of quarantine) tariff reduction for the delivery of the periodical press.
  6. In the period when, overall mass media advertising revenue are facing a record decline and in order to prevent media outlets from being shut down, we call to launch tax breaks - temporarily abolish income tax for editorial staff and VAT on sales of the press. For the period of quarantine, to set a preferential rent for editorial boards and newsstands : 1 UAH per month.
  7. In order to support the editorial boards of local editions - to distribute social advertising at the expense of budget funds in the local newspapers, based on the cost of 1 UAH for one copy of the subscribed press. Thus, the subscribers of local press will get reliable information from the Government and the Ministry of Health (more than 50% of whom are elderly people at the highest risk of death from the coronavirus). Such measures will be the most successful, since they will protect the elderly and support the crisis-hit local newspapers and be very effective well-targeted communication for the Government.

The open letter can be signed, you can sign it here.

As IMI reported, on March 27, the Ukrainian Media Business Association, the Association of Independent Regional Publishers of Ukraine and the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine appealed to the Government, the Verkhovna Rada and the President of Ukraine to introduce several urgent measures aiming to ensure access to professional media amidst lockdown.

On March 25, media organizations and media representatives called on MPs to take measures to support mass media in the context of anti-epidemic restrictive measures aiming to counter the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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