Recalling Ukraine’s commitments to the Council of Europe and within the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement on the necessity of finalizing the conversion of state-owned TV and radio broadcasting companies into a public broadcaster, the media reform experts of the Reanimation Package of Reforms call on the Verkhovna Rada to ensure appropriate financing in order to complete the establishment of a public broadcaster.
The RPR notes that the Verkhovna Rada has significantly contributed to the support of public broadcasting and has promptly responded to the issues which arose in the process of its reform. Parliamentary factions have also responded in a timely and responsible manner to the nomination of candidates to the Supervisory Board of the Public Joint Stock Company “National Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company of Ukraine” (PJSC NPTRBCU).
However, the efforts of the past three years might not yield the expected result, as the current financing of public broadcasting is critically low. At the same time, proper financing of the public broadcaster is a foundation of the successful implementation of the reform and achievement of its goals.
The Law on public television and radio broadcasting provides that the public broadcaster shall receive 0.2% of the general fund of the state budget for the previous year. This means that in 2017 the PJSC NPTRBCU should have received 1.28 billion UAH (about 47 million EUR). However, the State Budget of Ukraine for 2017 stipulates that the PJSC NPTRBCU shall get only 970 million UAH, which creates a deficit of 300 million UAH at the very start of the reorganization.
At the same time, according to the estimates of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the financing of public broadcasters in Europe totals an average of 0.39% of the budget expenditures, i.e. in Ukraine it should reach more than 2 billion UAH. For example, the public broadcaster in Croatia receives 182 million EUR, in Poland – 290 million EUR, in Romania – 215 million EUR.
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that in 2016, due to budgetary constraints, the National Television Broadcasting Company of Ukraine was able to allocate only 3% of its funds to program production. The legal status of a public joint-stock company allows to upgrade technical equipment and to conduct personnel optimization, which, however, is impossible without proper financing.
Therefore, the Media Reform Group of the Reanimation Package of Reforms calls on the Verkhovna Rada to provide financing of the PJSC NPTRBCU in 2017 in full, as stipulated by the Law on Public Television and Radio Broadcasting – i.e. at the level of 1.28 billion UAH.