Parliament Said “Yes” to Reform of State and Municipal Press

November 24, 2015

November 24, 2015

At the plenary session, the Members of Parliament (MPs) voted for the bill No. 1123 on Reforming of the State and Municipal Print Media. With 260 votes “for” the reform of state and municipal press was approved. Only after the sixth attempt did the MPs reviewed the draft law. The adoption of the law was long advocated by the representatives of Media Law Institute (MLI) and other media organizations.

The bill ensures the denationalization of state and municipal print media being implemented respectively in one and two years’ stages. The reform encompasses either the retraction of the representatives of public authorities and local governments from the founders’ composition of print media or transformation of print media into official print publications. The bill entails that the labor collective of print media makes the decisions regarding the transformation. Reformed media is granted with state support in accordance with the terms and forms determined by law.

During the discussion of the bill, the MPs supported the amendment, proposed by the chairwoman of the Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy Victoria Siumar on the official publications in which laws and other normative legal acts are officially published.

The world experience shows that state media are inherent for countries where the state has had monopoly on information for a long time. Today, authorities have their own newspapers in Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and others. In the countries of the Western democracy, governments do not own media.

The bill has previously been included in the parliamentary agenda, but was tabled only after the sixth attempt. Media Law Institute and other media organizations have repeatedly addressed the MPs with the call to vote for the press reform. In order to draw the attention of Parliament to the bill on 8 October the MLI representatives handed out outside the Parliament a satirical newspaper “Soviet Meridian”, which contained real materials of typical local newspapers. In addition, on 30th November, the Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy is holding the hearing on reforming of the parliamentary media, initiated by MLI. MLI lawyers are engaged in reforming of state and municipal press since 2005.

The law will come into force after signing by the President. The content of the bill is available in Ukrainian doc_317683 .