On Thursday 8th of October the legislation No1123 on Reforming of State and Municipal Print Media shall be tabled in Verkhovna Rada. The aim of the legislation is to stop spending public budget on promotion of local and central governmental authorities, to establish fair competition in print media market and to boost development of print media. To highlight the inadequacy of the current situation, when newspapers in the country are produced from the public budget, journalists and social activists have created a satirical newspaper “Radianskiy Meridian”, which mostly collected the articles published in so-called “rayonkah.”
The pdf format of the “Meridian” in Ukrainian can be found here.
Adoption of the legislation on Reforming State and Municipal Print Media is the obligation of Ukraine before the Council of Europe and the part of Roadmap of the reforms of the Reanimation Package of Reforms, what became one of the components of the Coalition Agreement.
According to the words of the director of Media Law Institute and the expert of the Reanimation Package of Reforms the legislations foresees reforming print media, founded by the government authorities, bodies of local self-government and other government authorities. “According to the legislation, the reformation shall occur in two stages. At the first stage, the willing newspapers shall be reformed and it shall last for a year. At the second stage, all other state print media shall be reformed during two years,” – pointed out Taras Shevchenko.
The draft law comprises four ways of the reform implementation:
- Withdrawal of state and local governmental authorities from the composition of founders (in the absence of the property of editorship);
- Transformation of editorship by labour collective into a market participant;
- Privatization of the property of editorship on a regular basis;
- Transformation into a formal print media.
What concerns the guarantees to the reformed media, Taras Shevchenko explained that newspapers that decided to wend the way of denationalisation, the property of editorship shall be transferred free of charge under condition of preserving the name, the language of publication and thematic scope. “Furthermore, these print media shall retain the leased premises in the size of rent defined for state-funded organisations,” – emphasized Taras Shevchenko.
To illustrate the situation that has to be remedied with this legislation on denationalisation, civil activists and journalists published a satirical newspaper “Soviet Meridian,” which was handed out to the deputies.
Explaining the name, the mastermind of creation of this publication, the chief editor of the project of “Istorychna Pravda (Historical Truth)” Vakhtang Kipiani stated that now so-called “rayonky” do the same thing, as it has been done by their predecessors; the bodies of district communism parties in Soviet times. “They love the government the same away, depriving community and the poor of the right to speak freely as church mice. They should go “free” and compete with other independent newspapers. The citizens should not finance this relic of the past with their taxes,” – stressed Vakhtang Kipiani.
The funniest thing is that as envisioned all articles of “Soviet Meridian” are to be written and copyrighted. “In the beginning, we wanted to write something absurd, however, real life is even more absurd and it was impossible to surpass it. Thus, only 10 percent are copyrighted, the rest are scanned copies of the real articles, notes and congratulations of the real “rayonnok,” – noted Vakhtang Kipiani.
Under estimations of Media Law Institute, today 550 newspapers are published by local authorities. Their weekly readership circulation is more than 1 million. Thus, it is thousands millions hryvnias that are spent on so-called “promotion” of local and central governmental authorities.
To support the legislation of Media Law Institute the infographic was created.