Section I: Monitoring of the implementation of recommendations on reform priorities for 2020–05.2021
In the near future, the attempts to replace the newly elected governing bodies of the company - the Supervisory Council and the Management Board, will be the main challenge for reform due to the general dissatisfaction of the ruling elites with the independent editorial policy of the broadcaster. Any legislative initiatives on the work of the Public Broadcasting and other decisions of the authorities during this period should be carefully analyzed for risks to its editorial and personnel independence and, if necessary, received a response from civil society and the international community.
An equally important challenge for the reform is the possibility of repeating the practice of significant underfunding of the broadcaster, which took place in 2017-2020, which will lead to the impossibility of expanding the broadcaster's audience. Legislative constraints to make co-production of audiovisual content, financing of long-term production projects and optimization of own fixed assets also need to be addressed - this makes the broadcaster uncompetitive in today's market.
In addition, the lack of widespread public support remains a challenge for Public Broadcasting: despite the fact that the Public Broadcaster is confidently gaining its audience on both radio and digital platforms, Ukrainian consumers are corrupted by the excessive number of national TV channels that provide a variety of content to any political and common taste, while the public broadcaster with its chronic underfunding loses in the effectiveness of the "picture".
Introduction of new regulations of market of the audiovisual market in accordance with EU standards
Procrastination in the adoption of the Law "On Media" continues to delay Ukraine's obligations under the EU Association Agreement on the implementation of Directive 2010/13/EU "On Audiovisual Media Services". Adoption of the law requires political will and the consent of the main stakeholders - participants of the media market.
The monitoring revealed that progress on key issues of media reforms during 2020–2021 was insignificant (the mark “Partially implemented” mostly means only the presence of bills or developments that to some extent cover the relevant recommendations, and “completed” tasks became possible mainly due to efforts civil society). The recommendations provided for priority actions for 2020-2021 remain relevant in the future.
The priority steps in media reform in the near future should include:
Preservation of the institutional independence of Public Broadcasting: non-interference in the work of the governing bodies and the company's editorial policy by the authorities. In particular, civil society and the international community need to monitor attempts to introduce legislative changes or other governmental actions that could lead to an early change in the broadcaster's newly elected leadership.
Ensuring full funding of Public Broadcasting for 2022 and introduction of a reliable model of UA:PBS funding, in accordance with the recommendations of the Council of Europe - through a new special fund of the state budget, which will be replenished by radio frequency rent.
Removal of legal restrictions for the effective operation of Public Broadcasting in the modern media market, namely the joint production of audiovisual content and property management.
Implementation of Directive 2010/13/EU on audiovisual media services, which will regulate the activities of non-linear audio individual media, strengthen the powers of the regulator, introduce co-regulation in the field, regulate community broadcasting and strengthen the protection of media consumers' rights.
Legal regulation of new media formats, in particular in view of the future EU regulation on digital services in the context of players such as Telegram channels, which belong to the category of "News and Media", to increase the transparency of online media.
Strengthening the financial transparency of the media: improving the legal requirements and mechanisms for monitoring financial transparency, introducing restrictive measures for media with non-transparent funding and/or Russian capital.
Maintaining a balance between the protection of fundamental freedoms and the interests of the state and society in the development of state initiatives and policies to combat misinformation and the introduction of any restrictions.
Collaborate with global companies (Facebook, Google, TikTok, etc.) to find solutions to combat misinformation and develop media literacy based on democratic values.
Promotion of media literacy, in particular through the education system, production of accessible content on media literacy (or one that integrates this topic) for different audiences with the involvement of NGOs, productions companies, local media, and public libraries.