NEWS published on 02 Mar 2020

EBU calls on Ukraine to unfreeze UA:PBC bank accounts

The EBU strongly supports the Ukrainian public broadcaster's calls for authorities to settle the debt they inherited from the former state television company and unfreeze the broadcaster's bank accounts.

According to UA:PBC, the accounts of the public broadcaster were frozen on 18 February 2020, as a consequence of the executive proceedings of the Ministry of Justice in relation to the collection of an old debt to EURONEWS amounting to over 10 million euros.

Freezing the accounts of UA:PBC has meant payment of staff salaries and other financial obligations have been suspended. Moreover, UA:PBC will be unable to prepare for the broadcast of major sporting and cultural events such as the Olympic Games, Eurovision Song Contest 2020 and other important international projects that help inform Ukrainian society.

We believe the unsettled debts of the previous state broadcaster should not burden the newly established public service organization that is governed by a democratically elected institution and functions in a completely different environment. The debt should be settled by the state, which is the founder of the broadcaster.

EBU Director General Noel Curran says that “blocking the work of UA:PBC by freezing their accounts is restricting the critical contribution they make to society and democracy.  UA:PBC is the youngest public broadcaster in Europe and needs to be cherished and supported by the state at a time when it is making substantial efforts to inform, educate and bring society together around its own national identity, history, culture and traditions.

"I hope, that the Ukrainian authorities will find a way to settle the debt and enable UA:PBC to serve its important remit in society."