OSCE: The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, called on the Ukrainian authorities to urgently find an effective solution to lift the blocking of the bank accounts of the public broadcasting company of Ukraine, UA:PBC.
According to UA:PBC, on 18 February 2020, the Department of State Executive Service (the bailiff service) at the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine opened enforcement proceedings against UA:PBC, which resulted in the immediate blocking of all of its accounts. This step was reportedly taken in order to recover over 10 million euros, owed to the television channel Euronews. The debt was inherited by UA:PBC from its predecessor, the National Television Company of Ukraine, as a result of its partnership with Euronews in 2010 to establish a Euronews Ukrainian service. UA:PBC points out that the blocked bank accounts have already interrupted preparations for some important programmes and projects, including the live broadcasts of the 2020 Olympics.
“I call on the authorities to urgently explore and find effective solutions to lift the blocking of the bank accounts of UA:PBC. It is particularly important to ensure that the public broadcaster created in 2014 doesn’t bear such a burden from its predecessor, that this is detrimental to its mission and development today,” Désir said. “I underline that public service broadcasting plays an indispensable role in providing public interest programming and enhancing the professionalism of media, thereby contributing to diversity, and pluralism. This is only possible when the state secures and respects its independence and sustainability.”