Ukraine

[UA] New statute on the media adopted

IRIS 2023-1:1/6

Andrei Richter

Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, Central European University (Budapest)

On 13 December 2022, the Ukrainian Parliament, the Supreme Rada, adopted, during its second and final reading, the draft statute “On the Media”. The statute was signed by the President on 29 December 2022, and officially published on 31 December 2022. The statute enters into force on 31 March 2023.

This statute was debated by the deputies for several years and is one of the pledges that Ukraine undertook as a candidate country to the EU. It encompasses all forms of the media, and the relationship between various media actors. The statute is 279 pages long and has 10 chapters.

One of the chapters deals with the regulation of the media in times of military aggression against Ukraine. It includes restrictions on the content of the media, on the dissemination of media and media products from the “aggressor state”, and on the register of individuals that present a danger to national security.

The new statute annuls and replaces several current statutes of Ukraine, such as the 1994 Statute on Television and Radio Broadcasting (IRIS 2006-5/34), the 1995 Statute on Information Agencies (IRIS 1995-6/22), the 1997 Statute on the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting (IRIS 1997-8/20), the 1997 Statute On the Procedures of the Coverage of Activities of the Bodies of State Power and Bodies of Local Self-Government in Ukraine by the Mass Media (IRIS 1998-8/19) and the 2004 Statute on Protection of Public Morals (IRIS Plus 2006-06). Hundreds of other statutes are amended, even if just to replace the traditional term “means of mass information” for “media”.

“Media” is defined in Article 1 of the Statute (among some 60 other definitions) as “a means of dissemination of mass information in any form, which becomes public in a periodic or regular way under editorial control and a permanent title as its identifiable feature”.

The new statute incorporates a number of provisions of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, such as on European works, works created by producers who are independent of broadcasters, and on a list of designated events.

The new statute met some criticism for providing legal grounds for a state-run national TV channel on the Parliament’s activity, “Rada” (as opposed to making it part of the public service media), and for increasing the powers of the national regulator, the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting, especially in the sphere of online media.

 


References

  • Mediengesetz der Ukraine, vom 13. Dezember 2022, Nr. 2849-IX
  • Statute of Ukraine “On the Media”, 13 December 2022, No. 2849-IX

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This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.