The EBU is concerned by plans to further cut the funding of Ukraine’s public service broadcaster UA:PBC by 43% in 2019.
Despite the Law on Public Television and Broadcasting of Ukraine setting out a clear budget for public service media (PSM), this year UA:PBC received only around half of that amount.
Parliament has now adopted a draft law on the state budget which will reduce UA:PBC's annual budget to 1 billion UAH ( just over 30 million euros) next year which equates to just 57% of the annual budget defined in state law.
Director General Zurabi Alasaniia believes this will signal the end of PSM in Ukraine.
He said: “We are very surprised at such proposals since we are barely surviving the current year. By doing this they violate all laws and lead us to death. It is not an exaggeration. It is impossible to exist this way.”
UA:PBC already has a deficit of 220 million UAH (nearly 7 million euros) following the reduction in their income in 2018. As a result, analogue distribution of the broadcaster was recently terminated across the majority of the country by the state-owned Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Television Company of Ukraine.
A recent conference, held in Kyiv, to address the crisis concluded that the current model of financing is ineffective as UA:PBC is unable to fulfil its obligations to society and to democracy.
The EBU again calls on the Ukrainian Government to ensure appropriate, fair and independent funding for UA:PBC in line with the Ukrainian Law and European standards.
The broadcaster is now having to consider different sources of financing, including taking a loan.