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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 protected] with the request to be subscribed. 

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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 [email protected].

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Ukraine Media Sector News over week of April 9-15, 2015

Категорія: English » Media Updates

Media Environment during Conflict

Court Considers “Vesti” Closure

  • April 15 – Chief of the State Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, at the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee for Combating Corruption, told that the Security Service hopes the court to make a fair verdict to cancel a registration of “Vesti” newspaper. According to Mr. Nalyvaychneko, this print media outlet continues publishing articles in support of separatism, as well as its funding sources are illegal.  The territorial administrative court of Kyiv re-started the case where Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office requested the closure of “Vesti” newspaper and “Vesti. Reporter” magazine. As the lawsuit stated, an array of articles were publicized promoting the idea of violation of Ukraine’s territorial unity, http://imi.org.ua/news/48513-sbu-fiksue-pidtrimku-vestyami-separatizmu-i-rozrahovue-na-spravedlive-rishennya-sudu-nalivaychenko.html

ATR Still Pursues Russian Registration

  • April 14 – The leaders of the Crimean Tatar ATR TV channel intend to further press for the registration by the Roskomnadzor (The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, the Russian Federation) to resume broadcasting in the Crimea, which is under the Russia’s control now. However, the channel did not rule out that they would avail themselves of the offer to broadcast from the mainland Ukraine. The Director General of the ATR TV channel, Ms. Elzara Isliamova, reported on that during her interview to the Zhurdom on-line media, http://jourdom.ru/: “As to the Ukrainian government’s offer, we do not exclude the possibility accepting it. Especially, because we still have a valid Ukrainian license enabling us to broadcast to the world via satellite. However, we will consider such an option as the last resort if we are not allowed to stay in the Crimea. Again, we would like to broadcast from the Crimea remaining with our people”, http://ru.krymr.com/content/news/26954559.html

Russian Authorities Search Former ATR’s Cameraman’s House

  • April 11 – In the city of Simferopol, the house of the ATR TV Channel former cameraman, Mr. Amet Umerov, was searched by the officers of the Center for Combating Extremism (or Center E), the Russian Federation, on 11 April 2015, in the morning. This was reported by Mr. Umerov’s friends and colleagues to the Krym. Realii (Crimea. Facts) on-line media. According to them, the ground for the search was Amet’s political statement in a social network where he criticized the actions of Russia’s authorities in Crimea. The Center E officers examined the computer contents and checked video equipment, but they did not take anything out. A few years ago, Mr. Amet Umerov worked as the ATR cameraman and presently he is engaged in filming weddings, http://ua.krymr.com/content/article/26950162.html

TVi Promises to Resume Broadcasting on May 1

  • April 10 – Both legal entities of the TVi channel, namely, the Info 24, Ltd., which is licensed to satellite broadcasting, and the Teleradiosvit (TV and Radio World) TV and Radio, Ltd., which owns licenses for analogue broadcasting on five frequencies in the Crimea and the Carpathians, received notices for the missing broadcasting that the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine issued according to the Council’s decisions made at the meeting on April 9, 2015. The National Council intended considering unscheduled inspections of the companies on the basis of the monitoring findings that revealed the lack of broadcasting. However, the National Council received a confirmation from the director of the Info 24, Mr. Maxym Urbansky, that there is no broadcasting presently available and, hence, the Council decided “not to waste time of the National Council and the channel staff to run the inspections” but rather apply due sanctions to the channel immediately. Mr. Urbansky informed that the TVi broadcasting would be resumed within a month after the audit, on May 1, 2015, http://www.telekritika.ua/rinok/2015-04-10/105976

Prosecutor’s Office Has Questions about Inter Purchase Contract

  • April 10 – The General Prosecutor’s Office instituted criminal proceedings for financing terrorism within the framework of the contract signed by Dmytro Firtash and Sergei Liovochkin on purchase of 29% shares of Inter TV from Russian "First Channel", as informed in the official response of the Office to the request of the MP Ihor Alekseev. "The data concerning the violation of Article 258-5 Part 3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – financing terrorism – was entered into the Unified Register of pre-trial investigations. The financing is suspected in the form of a USD100mln transfer by GDF Media Limited in favor of  Russian “First Channel”, as a payment for the acquisition of 29% shares of Inter TV channel under the “alleged” contract"-  the document indicates, http://ukr.lb.ua/news/2015/04/10/301576_gpu_rozsliduie_vikup_intera_rosii.html

Media Organizations Require Government’s Response to Persecution of Journalists in Crimea

  • April 10 – The Independent Media Trade Union (IMTU) and National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) requested from the Ukrainian government to officially respond to the events happening in the occupied Crimea, namely to the searches in the houses of Crimean journalists and their interrogations by the Special Services of the occupant, as pointed out in the joint statement of the IMTUU and NUJU.

Further, the statement clearly insists that the reaction of the Ukrainian authorities is extremely necessary, as the above mentioned facts have already become a negative trend, testifying the large-scale curtailment of the freedom of speech in Crimea.

Therefore, the media organizations required:

  • From the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine: to send an official letter of protest in response to the illegal persecution of journalists - citizens of Ukraine - in Crimea.
  • From the Prosecutor of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which is a part of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine: to launch criminal  proceedings against the Special Service agents and officers  for the illegal actions against journalists in Crimea, as well as institute personal sanctions against these people on the continental part Ukraine.

The statement also raised an issue of the search and questioning of the former deputy Editor-in-Chief of BlackSeaNews, and NUJU member since 2006, Ms. Tatiana Huchakova. The NUJU and IMTUU appealed to the Union of Journalists of Russia (within the dialogue between professional journalist organizations, initiated by the Office of the OSCE Representative for Freedom of Media) asking for help in obtaining information about Ms. Huchakova’s detention and protecting the colleagues’ rights, http://imi.org.ua/news/48479-nmpu-ta-nsju-vimagayut-vid-ukrajinskoji-vladi-reaktsiji-na-dopiti-krimskih-jurnalistiv.html


Media Legislation

National Council Requests  Parliament’s Speaker to Speed Up PSB Board Selection

  • April 10 – The National Council on TV and Radio addressed a letter to Volodymyr Groisman, Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine, requesting to arrange the prompt selection of the Supervisory Board members among the MPs for the Public Broadcasting Company. The representatives of civil society organizations and representatives of the factions and groups of the Parliament form the Supervisory Board. According to Article 8 of the Law of Ukraine "On Public Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine" the National Council is responsible for organizing the conferences of CSOs to elect the Board members. The Council will insert changes into the regulatory act that determines the order of conferences. After the public discussion, the document will be transferred to the Ministry of Justice for registration. The election process will start after that shortly, http://bit.ly/1zgb37v.

Parliament Approves in Second Reading Draft Laws on Open Data

  • April 9 – The Parliament approved in the second reading two draft laws aimed at implementing open data standards in Ukraine, i.e. access to ordered sets of data that are suitable for automated processing with the possibility of re-use, in particular, for public control over the activities of the government. On March 5, the laws were approved in the first reading. Originally, the President of Ukraine submitted the mentioned draft laws to the Parliament. The draft Law "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding Access to Public Information in the Form of Open Data" (#2171) provides the improvement to the Law of Ukraine "On Access to Public Information" regarding the mandatory disclosure of certain types of public information in open data format. The draft Law "On Amendments to Article 28 of the Budget Code of Ukraine Regarding Access to Information About the Budget in the Form of Open Data" (#2172) in addition to the above changes provides publication of budget requests as open data, and quarter and annual reports of the State Budget of Ukraine, budget programs and reports on the implementation of the budget programs and decisions on local budgets, information on the State Budget of Ukraine and local budgets (except the budget of villages and towns), http://www.telekritika.ua/pravo/2015-04-09/105929.


Debates: PRO – Police Reform

  • April 15 – First National TV channel and Suspilnist Foundation broadcast the third convergent program “Debates: PRO” – Police Reform: Radical Changes or Gradual Renewal. Six experts expressed the polar  opinions and found a compromise: Egor Sobolev – MP; Mykola Moskalenko – Head of Vradiivka (Mykolaiv region) village council; Mykhaylo Prytula – Ex-chief of the department for internal security, Ministry of Internal Affairs; Olena Sotnyk – MP; Victor Chumak – MP; Yevhen Zakharov – Chair of expert council, Ministry of Interior. An 1.5-hour discussion of the experts and the studio and the online audience lead to the selection of three compromise solutions on how to make the police efficient: 1) to develop police’s employees evaluation criteria; 2) to raise policemen’s salaries; and 3) to make police accountable (public control).  “Debates: PRO” is an innovative convergent program produced under the U-Media, USAID, support with the goal of establishment of a new discussion culture.   

Debates: PRO – New Utility Tariffs

  • April 9 - First National Channel in cooperation with Suspilnist Foundation produced the 2nd talk show “Debates: PRO”. The program’s topic was “New Tariffs: Earnings on People or Price for Reform?” The representatives of the executive and lawmaking branches of power and experts on this topic were invited to defend the opposite points of views. They were: Nataliya Khotsykyvska, the Head of Utilities Support Systems of the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Utilities of Ukraine; Svyatoslav Pavlyuk, expert on energy issues; Volodymyr Makukha, Minister of Fuel and Energy Complex of the opposition government; Petro Panteleyev, deputy head of Kyiv Municipality; Oleksiy Kucherenko, chairman of the Union of Homeowners of Ukraine; Dmytro Vovk, acting chairman of the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Utilities. As a result of the 1.5-hour discussion, the experts agreed that the topic should have been formulated in the other way. According to experts, the first thing to talk is the creation of competitive conditions in the market of communal services. The authorities should make transparent the mechanism of establishing the fees. A poor should not defend by reducing tariffs and by targeted financial assistance. The vulnerable families should get assistance through direct financial aid but not by reducing fees. The experts’ voting results looked like the following: 1) creation of competitive market conditions; 2) clear explanations of the pricing mechanism; and 3) protection of poor people by financial aid, not by low prices, http://bit.ly/1IcRGSa.

Civic Opposition to Russian Propaganda in Ukraine

  • April 14 – Telekritika (TK) presented the recommendations to resist propaganda in three areas - the areas controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, the occupied territories and in foreign countries. The recommendations were developed for public authorities, media and civil society organizations. The recommendations are part of the analytical report prepared by Telekritika that provides:
  1. analysis of the state information policy in countering Russian informational aggression carried out during the last year;
  2. the results of the annual monitoring of Russian media;
  3. the results of monitoring of influence of Russian propaganda in Ukrainian information space;
  4. and the results of the survey "Anti-Russian Propaganda in a Conflict Region" conducted by Kyiv Institute for Sociology.

The draft recommendations will be sent out to media CSOs, public authorities, and media outlets aiming at continuing the discussion and to develop common rules for working in conditions of Russian informational aggression, http://bit.ly/1CMC9nb.

Upcoming Events

  • April 16, Chernihiv - Ukrainian Association of Press Publishers (UAPP) along with local media experts, the city council and media will discuss expectations of local media outlets and their strategies after the Law On De-Statization is adopted in 2015. The roundtable aims at preparing communal media to self-sustainability, http://www.uapp.org/news_uapp/13063.html.
  • April 16-17, Kyiv – Academy of Ukrainian Press (UAPP) will conduct the 3rd international conference on media literacy. The event will bring educators from different regions of Ukraine to share best practices in teaching secondary school pupils and students of pedagogical colleges and universities. The conference is supported by the Institute of Innovative Technologies in Education and Institute of Social and Political Psychology at the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences. The event will take place at Smartville Creative Space, 36-A Shevchenko Blvd., Kyiv; 10 a.m., http://bit.ly/1FAoAeY.
  • April 16, Kherson - Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (POID) will organize a media discussion on urgent challenges of Ukraine in the informational space. The discussion will engage local journalists, experts and media activists. The speakers are Vakhtang Kipiani the chief editor of ‘Istorychna Pravda” (History Truth), Svitlana Yeremenko media expert and Maksym Soroka the head of the press service of Kherson frontier squad. They will talk about how to cover the war and not promote Russian propaganda, how media should work in the regions that have borders with the country aggressor, http://bit.ly/1CZX7zp.
  • April 22 - First National Channel and Suspilnist Foundation will produce a weekly program “Debates: PRO” with Campus-point as a separate online stage. The topic of each program is selected from the most discussed and of the highest social importance for a week. The live broadcast is every Wednesday at 7:30pm at First National TV channel (analogue and T2), Pershyi Ukraina (international channel) and online at campus30.org, betv.com.ua, 1tv.com.ua. Rebroadcast: the next morning at 9.10 a.m.
  • April 24-25, Dnipropetrovsk - Independent Media Trade Union (IMTUU) will organize a 2-day security training for journalists from eastern regions of Ukraine.