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Ukraine’s Law on the Public Service Broadcasting Came Into Force – Key Highlights

The Law of Ukraine “On the Public TV and RadioBroadcasting in Ukraine” wasadopted by by the Parliament on 17April 2014 and came into force on 15 May 2014 after the acting PresidentO.Turchynov signed it.

According to the new Law, setting up of the NationalPublic Service Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (hereinafter – the public broadcaster) shall be done by the Cabinet of Ministers ofUkraine on the basis of the reorganized National Television Company of Ukraine,the National Radio Company of Ukraine and over twenty statetelevision and radio organisations. Its structural branches shall comprise the PublicTelevision and the Public Radio.

The public broadcaster might promote comprehensive satisfaction ofcitizens’ information needs, ensure their participation in the public debateand in resolving important issues of Ukraine`s social and political life. Wefind that the new Law provides for sufficient prerequisites to establish asystem of public broadcasting that appear independent, effective andtransparent.

The Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board shall be in charge of oversight over the publicbroadcaster activity. This body shall include one representative from each of five parliamentary factionsand several groups of MPs, as well as nine representatives fromthe Ukrainian civil society organisations (CSOs) that act mainly in the sphereof education, science, sports and physical training, journalism, protection of children and youth,local governance and in the right defense or art spheres.

The Law contains some requirements for the CSOs having intention to delegate their candidatefor the positionof a Supervisory Board member. Those organisations have to be the all-Ukrainian ones, with notless than three years of activity, and have reputable in the relevant spheremembers. In addition, an all-Ukrainian CSO can put forward only one candidate for the positionof a Supervisory Board member.

A citizen of Ukraine bearing high professional and moral qualities, socialauthority, with University degree, who has resided in Ukraine for the last five years, may beelected as a member of the mentioned Supervisory Board. The law also sets alist of persons that cannot become members of the Supervisory Board, namelyMembers of Parliament, members of the Cabinet of Ministers, members of theNational Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting, military servicemen,civil servants or persons holding elective positions at the public bodies ofany level, and staff members of the political party, etc. Members of the Supervisory Board shall perform theiractivity for free beingelected for 4 years and can hold this position within the Board no more thantwo times.

Charter of the PublicBroadcaster

According to the Law, the Charter ofpublic broadcaster has to be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers ofUkraine. Changes to this document can be submitted by the SupervisoryBoard and introduced by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Funding

During the period of four years, the publicbroadcaster to be funded from the statebudget of Ukraine. After expiration of this period, it can raise funds byselling its own television and radio products; receiving payments for using itscopyright and related rights; voluntary and charity contributions, donations ofpersons and legal entities, except for anonymous one; allocations from stateand local budgets or other earnings. Share of advertising cannot exceed 5% of each astronomical hourof the actual broadcasting. Funding of the public broadcaster at the expense of the state budget should be not less than 0,2% of the budget expenditure  forthe previous year and this should be indicated in the state budget.

Editorial policy

According to the new Law, unlike the state-ownedbroadcasters the public broadcaster is not obliged to cover theactivity of executive authorities, other public bodies, local self-governance bodies andtheir officials. Programs of the public broadcaster shall include not less than 75% ofnational and European production (of the States- parties to the EuropeanConvention on Transfrontier Television) into its everyday airtime broadcasting. 

In addition, the publicbroadcaster has to provide an objective, full, timely and impartial coverage ofevents in Ukraine and abroad that are of public importance; to promoteconsolidation of the Ukrainian society; to develop and strengthen the Ukrainianlanguage and culture, encourage development of the national minorities’languages and cultures;  to promote thefullest satisfaction of informational, cultural and educational needs ofUkrainians, inter alia, by creationand spread of economic, historic and documentary, cultural and artistic,educational and cognitive, entertaining, sport programs, programs for childrenand youth, disabled persons, national minorities, other social groups; to operatively inform the public about emergencies endangeringlife or health of people; to provide the expected information products tothe Ukrainian citizens, which are not present on the commercial market; and enhanceUkraine`s international authority.

As regards broadcasting of official messages, the public broadcaster has to provide live airtime forofficial speeches andannouncements of the top public officials,specifically, only for the emergency official statements by the Presidentof Ukraine, the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Head of Supreme Court, and by theHead of Constitutional Court of Ukraine. Also, airtime should be given to thePresident for the New Year’s greetings to Ukrainian people.

Reporting and auditing

Every year the public broadcaster shall undergo an obligatory audit of its annualfinancial reporting. The Supervisory Board selects an audit company uponresults of relevant competition. The audit is held at the expenses ofthe public broadcaster. The mandatory financial reports and results of the annual audit are publishedin the print and electronic media, as well as on the official website of public broadcaster.


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