Institute of Mass Information published its monitoring of journalists' right for the first half of 2015. Physical aggression against journalists in Ukraine started to decrease: for the first half of 2015 IMI experts registered 23 assaults against journalists in Ukraine, which is almost 11 times less than in the same period of 2014 (249 assaults), and by 1.5 times less than in the second half of 2014 (37 assaults).
For you attention, the recent weekly briefer for Ukrainian media sector developments over period of June 25 - July 1, 2015. You may subscribe for weekly briefers by sending request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
U-Media gathered the most important news over week April 9-15, 2015 that influenced the media development and freedom of speech in Ukraine. If you want to receive the weekly updadtes regularly, please send us email to email@example.com with the request to be subscribed.
Internews office in Ukraine briefed the most important developments in Ukrainian media sector over last week: the Parliament rejected considering a draft law that expands authority of the National Council on TV and Radio in deprivation of licences, Firtash and Levochkin obtained a full package of stocks for leading Ukrainian TV channel Inter, pro-Russian authorities in Crimea increased pressure on journalsits and media freedoms at the peninsula. Please read more туцы in U-Media weekly briefer.
U-Media prepared overview of recent important news related to media development in Ukraine: National Council on TV and Radio wants to receive the authority to temporarily suspend (for 3 months) the license of broadcasters whose work threatens the national security, territorial integrity and the lives and safety of citizens; Ukrainian Parliament registered draftlaw on amendments to the law on TV and Radio; IMI fixed 6 cases of physical agression against journalists; the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) negotiated upon the journalists' work in Donbass area that is under the DNR control. Please read more news in weekly briefer >>
At the beginning of year 2015, the Parliament voted changes to the Law on Public Broadcasting, the monopoly digital TV signal provider Zeonbud decoded TV signal due to decision of National Council on TV and Radio, State Committee on TV and Radio publicized results of its monitoring of national and regional governement web-sites, Cabinet of Ministers decided to stop supporting Ukrainian newsroom of Euronews channel. Those and other news are described in the last weekly briefer of Ukrainian Media Project (U-Media).
Last week (December 18-24) media sector news of Ukraine: Anti-Monopoly Committee recognized the monopoly of digital TV signal provider Zeonbud, Crimean broadcaser Chernomorskaya TRC got back its arrested equipment from Crimean governors, suspecting NTN channel due to tax evasion, expansion of Ukrainian First National TV channel to Belarus, survey of media audience about media influence on political crises in Ukraine and other news.
Weekly overview of Ukrainian media sector news: Reporters without Borders found Ukraine as one of the most dangerous countries for journalsits, media NGOs in Ukraine and Russia urge the journalists of both countries to not burn the informational war, EU encourages the Ministry of Information to protect media freedom and produce high quality product for audience abroad. To subscribe for U-Media weekly briefers, please write us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ukrainian Media Sector News over week of December 18-24, 2014
HOT MEDIA SECTOR NEWS
Media Environment during Conflict and When New Government Is in Place
Zeonbud Is Now Digital Services Monopolist
- December 23 – The Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine completed a research of the digital telecommunication market (DVB-T2 standard) and recognized Zeonbud as monopolist provider of four digital multiplexes – MX – 1, MX – 2, MX – 3 and MX – 5. The Committee publicized the report saying that “the ground for the conclusions was information received from the state institutions, expert organizations, broadcasters, TV-radio stations, which are the users of Zeonbud TV communication services, as well as other market participants”. The research confirmed that currently there is no alternative to the services Zeonbud provides, http://www.telekritika.ua/rinok/2014-12-23/101904
Chornomorska TV Gets Its Arrested Equipment Back
- December 22 – The Crimean television and radio transmitting center returned the arrested equipment to the owner, the Chornomorska TV and Radio Company. According to the reporter of the Center for Investigative Journalism, the resolution to return the equipment was passed by the Russia Federal Bailiffs` Service based on the decision of the Sevastopol Appeal Court, which upheld the decision of the Commercial Court of Crimea on the return of the property to the broadcaster. Besides the Chornomorska’s equipment, the equipment belonging to the Center for Investigative Journalism and Information Press Center, who rented premises at the Chornomorska TV and Radio Company at the time of arrest, was returned to the owners as well, http://investigator.org.ua/news/145056/; http://www.telekritika.ua/pravo/2014-12-23/101869.
Attack On Road Control Reporters at Akhmetov’s Construction Site
- December 22 – As reported on the Road Control on-line media web-site, in the village of Pliuty, the Obukhiv district, Kyiv region, several journalists, including the Road Control employees, have been attacked by the security people of the construction site that is run by the company owned by Mr. Rinat Akhmetov. During the incident, the guards beat the Road Control journalists, Mr. Andriy Dzyndzia, who also is the assistant to the MP, Ms. Tetiana Chornovol. According to the media, “a full-scale construction was started in the forest in the village of Pliuty, the Obukhiv district, Kyiv region. The Road Control and other media journalists took a decision to investigate the case”. After the journalists tried to make a photo of the construction, the guard men attacked Mr. Andriy Dzyndzia, they started choking him and took his camera out. The guards also tried to force another journalist to stop shooting a fight on her mobile phone. The police was called according to the fact of attacking journalists. The chief of the security men denied the fact that his subordinates took the camera out and stated that “the camera remained in our hands, and you have left.” The entire conflict is available at the video placed at the Road Control web-site. “Interestingly, the guard who committed the attack (Mr. Volodymyr Lapa), resides in Donetsk ...", the Road Control wrote, http://www.telekritika.ua/profesija/2014-12-22/101845; http://roadcontrol.org.ua/node/2420.
Tax Administration and Prosecutor General's Office Suspect NTN TV Channel in Tax Evasion
- December 22 – As the press service of the Kyiv Prosecutor General's Office reported, the Tax Administration and Prosecutor General's Office investigate a case of tax evasion by a TV broadcaster for the amount of UAH 23.7 million. According to the Telekritika’s source, the TV broadcaster is the NTN TV channel. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, during the year 2013, while running operations in TV broadcasting and providing advertising services in media, “the company officials wrongly underestimated financial obligations to the state totaling over UAH 23.7 million.” On the fact of deliberate large scale tax evasion, a criminal proceeding under Part 3, Article 212 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (deliberate evasion of mandatory payments) was initiated. A pre-trial investigation in criminal proceedings is conducted by the Investigation Department on the Financial Investigations of the State Tax Administration in the Shevchenko district, the Main Department of the State Fiscal Service in the city of Kyiv. Procedural guidance is conducted by the Prosecutor's Office of the Shevchenko, the city of Kyiv, http://www.telekritika.ua/pravo/2014-12-22/101824
Ukraine’s National Union of Journalists Ceases Existence in Crimea
- December 22 – According to the press service of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), the Union’s plenary session, by the majority vote, approved December 18 decision to stop the activities of the Crimean regional organization. The fate of the Crimean regional NUJU governing bodies was resolved during the Union’s session and Secretariat meeting on December 17-18. Back on June 1, on the initiative of the former leader of the Crimean Union Lyudmila Khoroshylova, a constituent assembly was held to establish a branch of the Russian Union of Journalists on the peninsula. Consequently, a special meeting of the Crimean National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (CNUJU) took the decision to liquidate the organization. However, no documents in support of these initiatives have been submitted to the Union’s central office. NUJU condemned such actions of the Crimean leadership, and invited Crimean journalists not willing to lose ties with the Ukrainian Union, to reregister in Kyiv regional organization, http://www.telekritika.ua/profesija/2014-12-22/101808.
Ukraine’s First National Channel Is to Broadcast in Belarus
- December 22 – Presidents of Ukraine and Belarus agreed that the neighboring state will launch broadcasting of Ukraine’s First National Channel, as MP Mustafa Nayem wrote in his Facebook. According to him, this news was first brought by the Minister of Information Policy Yuriy Stets and Director General of the National Television Company of Ukraine Zurab Alasania, http://www.telekritika.ua/rinok/2014-12-22/101804
Media Trade Union Demands Completed Investigations of Violations against Journalists during Revolution of Dignity
- December 20 – Delegates to the general assembly of the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine Kyiv branch expressed their indignation over the inactiveness of the Prosecutor General delaying the investigation of cases of violation of journalists' rights during the Revolution of dignity, IMTUU pointed out in its statement to media. “IMTUU Kyiv organization demands from investigating authorities to bring to justice not only the executors (soldiers and sergeants of special service units), but also junior and senior officers whose action or inaction led to attacks on journalists, - highlighted a Media Trade Union representative. - The investigation must be completed, as soon as possible, and all materials submitted to and examined in an open and non-biased court." Members of the general assembly have concluded that the Prosecutor's Office openly demonstrates unwillingness to bring this investigation to its logical end. Journalists- participants warn that Media Trade Union reserves the right to publicly raise the issues of compliance of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General to his position and professional competence of other officials responsible for investigating crimes against journalists, as well as to hold mass protests and apply to international media organizations, http://www.telekritika.ua/pravo/2014-12-20/101782
- December 24 – The Public Council at the State Committee on TV and Radio summed up its work in 2014 and discussed plans for the next year. During the first quarter of 2015 the Public Council will focus on such issues as public broadcasting, print media de-statization, delivery of compulsory sample of documents, access to public information and other issues. The current Public Council has been working since May 2013. According to the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers, all Public Councils that were formed after February 22, 2014 are to be re-elected, http://www.telekritika.ua/kontekst/2014-12-24/101920.
Committee on Freedom of Speech Recommends Adoption of Amendments to Legislative Acts on PSB
- December 18 - The Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information decided to recommend the Parliament to adopt the bill №1357 “on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Public Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine”. The bill clarifies certain provisions of the Law regarding: NSTU creation mechanism and its legal form; funding sources; labor remuneration; protection of property rights and interests of NSTU employees; improving functions of the Supervisory Board; formation and work principles of the Supervisory and Editorial Boards. The draft Law envisions the possibility to fund public broadcasting through monthly fees, allowed more adverting slots that will be decreased on the 5th year of broadcasting, http://stv.mediasapiens.ua/material/36205.
Draft Law On Amendments to TV & Radio Law Registered
- December 18 – MPs Yuriy Derevyanko, Mykola Tomenko and Iryna Suslova registered a draft Law “on "Amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On Television and Radio" to mark TV and radio programs and/or advertisements funded by the state budget. MPs justified the need of this bill by the lack of public control over the expenditures of the state budget money to produce and broadcast programs for public use. The ordered programs or specific brand advertising were often produced with the state budget money without public control. According to the draft Law such products will be marked by a text and blue/yellow square, http://medialaw.kiev.ua/news/archive/2826/.
National Union of Journalists` Proposal On Reformation of State and Communal Print Media
- December 23 – According to the press-service of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) the Secretariat of the Union made an open appeal on reformation of state and communal print media. In this appeal, the Union of journalists confirms its position concerning the necessity of the state and communal press reformation in Ukraine. At the same time, the NUJU pays attention to faults of a draft Law of Ukraine # 1123 “On Reformation of State and Communal Print Media” that was registered at the Parliament. Namely, the NUJU expresses its concern about the following clauses of this draft Law: one-year period of a “pilot project” during which all necessary procedures are impossible to implement, uncertainty concerning state`s support of the press, lack of precise researches on newspapers development. To the NUJU`s Secretariat`s opinion, it can lead to local press destruction in Ukraine. The NUJU proposes to develop and approve a purpose-oriented national program “Small press” aiming at creating precise criteria and indexes in order to provide, if necessary, state support to local print media. http://www.telekritika.ua/pravo/2014-12-23/101864.
- December 21 - Pursuant to the Law “On the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine” the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the members of the Commission for conducting a vacancy competition for the position of the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau: Mr. Iosyf Zisels, Ms. Oleksandra Yanovska and Mr. Yuriy Butusov. This decision was made during the Government`s meeting on Sunday, December 21. Mr. Iosyf Zisels – a well-known human rights activist, during the soviet period – a participant of dissident and human rights movements, a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki group. Ms. Oleksandra Yanovska – professor of the justice department of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, doctor in law, an ad hoc judge of European Court on human rights. Mr. Yuriy Butusov – a known journalist, author of many well-publicized corruption materials and journalist investigations, editor-in-chief of “Cenzor.net”. http://www.kmu.gov.ua/control/uk/publish/article?art_id=247831722&cat_id=244274130
- December 19 – During its regular meeting on 24 December the members of the Parliamentary Freedom of Speech and Information Committee will consider 2 issues: 1) Preventing legal professional activity of STB channel`s journalists in Irpin city (Kyiv region); 2) Decision of the National Television and Broadcasting Council of Ukraine about its caution to the TV channel “Espreso-TV” concerning rebroadcasting of the President Mr. Putin`s speech to the Federal Assembly from the Russian TV channel “Russia Today”. The Committee will also consider draft Laws: #1405 - On Amendments to Some Legislative Acts of the Law of Ukraine On Obligatory On-line Broadcasting of Open Sessions of Parliamentary Committees - introduced by MPs Mykola Tomenko, Volodymyr Areshonkov, Oleksandr Abdullin, Iryna Gerashchenko and Olena Kondratyuk; #1455 – On Amendments to Some Legislative Acts of the Law of Ukraine (on peculiarities of advertisement broadcasting (rebroadcasting) that belongs to programs and telecasts of foreign TV and radio companies) introduced by MPs Olena Kondratyuk, Oleksandr Abdullin, Mykola Knyazhytsky, Iryna Gerashchenko and Vadym Denysenko, http://www.telekritika.ua/pravo/2014-12-19/101759
- December 18 – Inviting to discussion leading media experts, lawyers, representatives of the National Security and Defense Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State TV and Radio Committee of Ukraine, National Institute for Strategic Studies, managers of the state TV and radio companies, the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee for Freedom of Speech & Information Ms. Victoria Syumar noted that in order to launch, as soon as possible, foreign broadcasting, a number of organizational questions should be legally adjusted. There are two ways how to do this: to make amendments to current Law of Ukraine “On TV and Radio Broadcasting” or to develop a separate law. The Chair of the Committee emphasized that she personally is for the second variant and thinks that foreign languages broadcasting law should be developed to determine organizational principles for the state media resources’ activities which are planned to be created on the basis of TV channels “UTR” and “BTB” and Worldwide service of Ukrainian radio. To her conviction, this law should clearly adjust financial questions, management, editorial policy formation, statute approval etc. As a result, of this discussion they decided to continue their common work over the new draft law on foreign languages broadcasting, http://komsvobslova.rada.gov.ua/komsvobslova/control/uk/publish/article?art_id=51041&cat_id=44734
U-MEDIA PARTNERS’ ACTIVITIES
Telekritika’s Press Conference On Russian Propaganda
- December 24 - Telekritika held a press conference to introduce the results of the analysis of Russian propaganda about Ukraine in media. The press conference included a presentation of the survey on citizens’ perception of media influence (survey conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) in December 2014), and a presentation of Telekritika findings about trends and specifics of Russian media reporting about Ukraine over 2014. TK Executive Director Diana Dutsyk informed about the messages broadcast about Ukraine: the Ukraine is not the independent state, Ukraine does not have the right for existing boundaries, and Ukraine should be split in several pieces. Russian media systematically post negative half-true and fake messages to demonize the new President and the new Parliament of Ukraine, emphasized on radical actions of the ultra-right forces through hate speech such as “fascists”, “fracks” and “neo-Nazi”. Starting the summer 2014, Russian media changed their rhetoric trying legitimizing illegal referendums, Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, Novorossia (New Russia – non-existing country) and its leaders. As stated by TK expert Roman Shutov, some Ukrainian media contributed to the pro-Russian propaganda: in particular, TK experts found features of separatism in the newspaper “Vesti”, “Komsomolskaya Pravda”, channel “112 Ukraine” and a local TRC "Reporter" (Odesa), and other local municipal Donetsk and Luhansk media, ttp://osvita.mediasapiens.ua/monitoring/advocacy_and_influence/ros_propaganda_vykorystala_ves_spektr_eksp/.
Telekritika’s Research: 82% of Ukrainians Demand Honest News
- December 24 – Telekritika presented findings of citizens’ survey about media influence on the Ukrainian-Russian Conflict (in Ukrainian language). The survey demonstrated a high demand of Ukrainian citizen for objective honest news and information in media: 82% said that Ukrainian media should report about successes and failures of Ukrainian military and Ukrainian Government to provide the maximum reliable information about Russian-Ukrainian conflict. 71% of respondents believe that Russian TV news about Ukraine is not truthful; 20% think the Russian TV news is partially honest truthful; and only 6% think it is truth. Almost half of respondents (49%) support creation of quality anti-propaganda TV channel that would broadcast Ukrainian news abroad; 34% did not have opinion about that issue, http://umedia.kiev.ua/meda-demokratya/dosldz/648-opituvannya-gromadyan-pokazalo-visokiy-popit-na-obyektivn-novini-pro-situacyu-v-krayin.html#.VJrL-14gKA. The full report in Ukrainian is available at http://www.slideshare.net/umedia/tk-kiissurvey-dec2014media-influence.
Media Law Institute Proposes Quotas for Political Advertising during Elections
- December 22 – An alternative to total banning on political advertising may be establishing severe time quotas that one party could acquire from a TV channel, e.g., a block of about 2 min 30 sec once per day. The issue was discussed during the “Regulation for Media during the Election: the Agenda for the New Parliament” expert discussion that was held by the Media Law Institute and supported by the Internews. The participants of the gathering stated that the new coalition will likely introduce some changes into the Election Law, specifically re its media part. Therefore, it is important for the lawyers and media experts to be actively involved in this process and elaborate their proposals. According to the Director of the Media Law Institute, Mr. Taras Shevchenko, the latest election demonstrated once again that banning the political advertising and campaigning are the issues of demand specifically during the election times. The key argument in favor of such a ban is that the political advertising requires attracting large budgets and makes parties dependent of oligarchs. Second, political advertising worsens the quality of political debates by focusing the voters’ attention on short emotional clips. Lacking such tools of impact will make the MP candidates meet with the voters more often and consider their political activities more profoundly. Another argument to launch the ban is an unequal access to the media, as parties that do not have sufficient funds find themselves in a losing position, http://osvita.mediasapiens.ua/media_law/law/institut_media_prava_proponue_skhemu_bilsh_zhorstkogo_kvotuvannya_politichnoi_reklami_pid_chas_viboriv/