of non-governmental organisations and RPR-Media (Reanimation Package of Reforms)
on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Law of Ukraine “On Television and Radio Broadcasting”
On 01 March 2016 is the 10th anniversary of the Law of Ukraine “On Television and Radio Broadcasting” came into force.
This law was adopted in a non-transparent manner and had no expert review of any international organisation. Despite of certain positive innovations, it introduced over 50 new terms which, in a majority of cases, only complicated the law and did not set up any effective regulation mechanisms on the market. Certain provisions such as the introduction of 10% irrevocable competitive guarantee were clearly discriminative. A significant drawback of the adopted version was the lack of procedure of digital switchover. It is worth emphasizing that this happened at the same moment when the International Telecommunication Union Regional Conference was held and approved the agreement on the introduction of broadcasting digital format Geneva-2006.
It would not be an exaggeration to comment that adoption of such version of the law had detained the solution of media market problems for a decade. In terms of digital switchover it created environment for corrupt competitions which resulted in emergence of ZEONBUD. The lack of effective procedures for bringing the broadcasters to liability for violation of election and advertising legislation, for “jeansa” and hate speech had triggered a sense of absolute impunity of the latter and thus resulted in systematic violations and indirectly created conditions for legitimisation of Russian aggression.
Internal conflicts and lack of consistency make elimination of all drawbacks of the law impossible, as well as numerous amendments to the law adopted during these years cannot change the system radically. In view of European tendencies, it becomes vitally important to adopt a single law which, along with general standards regarding the provision of audiovisual media services, will precisely determine authorities and functions of the national regulatory authority.
Therefore, civil society organisations Media Law Institute, Institute of Mass Information, Institute of Regional Press Development, Telekrytyka and Media Group of Reanimation Package of Reforms emphasize the necessity of adoption of a new law on audiovisual media services with the involvement of an international expertise for the purpose of achieving the maximum correlation of the draft provisions with the European regulations in accordance with the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement and requirements of the Council of Europe.
We stress on the importance of changing approaches to regulation of media environment, preserving progressive innovations adopted during the last year, and call on to implement in the text of the new law the below-mentioned requirements and principles.
10 principles of new audiovisual law
1. Bringing regulation in the field of audiovisual broadcasting in line with the demands of modern technologies, preserving a principle of “technological neutrality”;
2. Implementing efficient procedure of transition to digital broadcasting (digital switchover);
3. Improving the standards for transparency and openness of information regarding the owners of mass media and control over its implementation;
4. Improving the quality standards of content, ensuring political diversity and protection of media from interference into their editorial policy;
5. Establishing efficient control mechanisms for compliance with media legislation, especially during elections;
6. Establishing favorable conditions for promoting non-commercial broadcasting;
7. Transparent competitive procedure for appointing professional, free from political and industry influence members to the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine (National Council);
8. Strategic planning for the activities of the National Council with annual reporting on fulfilled tasks on regulation and development of audiovisual information sphere;
9. Providing clarity and predictability of legislative regulation, of primary importance regarding the restrictions in this sphere (licensing, content requirements, sanctions);
10. Transparency in usage and distribution of Ukraine’s radio frequency resource.
Institute of Mass Information, SCO
Media Law Institute, SCO
Regional Press Development Institute, SCO
Media Group of Reanimation Package of Reforms