There was a public discussion of the intermediate results of the press reformation

May 12, 2017

What changes are required by the legislation on media denationalization and what we managed to achieve now – this was discussed during the discussion ‘Denationalization of print media. How to provide a complete process?” With the participation of media experts, government officials and the media. The event, organized with the assistance of the OSCE Project Coordinator, was attended by Director of CEDEM Taras Shevchenko and lawyer Ali Safarov.

The process of denationalizing the printed mass media lasts for a year and a half; however, taking into account the difficult experience of publications, experts see the need for changes to the legislation. These edits are already being developed by media practitioners, including the experts of the CEDEM. Subsequent proposals will be presented at the hearings of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on the issues of Freedom of Speech.

Taras Shevchenko, the Director of the CEDEM, noted that the law on the denationalization of the media was the result of long-term public efforts, in particular, the CEDEM and RPR.

“Spending taxpayers’ money for state publications is unacceptable for a democratic country. The press should be separated from the state, as well as the church. For the money of taxpayers, they cannot publish a publication, for example, on the first page the head of the administration, on the second – he, and the third – again, the head. And there are a lot of budget funds for this activity”, – the Director of CEDEM emphasized.

He added that attention should be paid not only to communal services, but also to state newspapers. After all, some government agencies did not even submit information about their publications. At the same time, such a press has bigger budgets than local media.

“State support for editions that are being reformed is also important. Budget funds need to be put in place to support them during the transition period. This will soften the painful effect of many publications in the process of reform”, – added Taras Shevchenko.

Ali Safarov, a lawyer at the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law emphasized that reforming the press could already be carried out under the current law, and emphasized that the changes that were made eliminate only the most critical obstacles that can be removed during the reformation process.

“Most of the obstacles arise precisely because of the officials’ actions. And no law itself will force it to be fulfilled. Civil society should help this. The issue is also in bringing prosecutors who do not comply with the law – they shall be solved by law enforcement officers”, – he said.

Also during the discussion were representatives of the local publications, who talked about their experience of denationalization.

The full version of the material is available in Ukrainian: