5.3.7 Mass media
The Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting (1993, with amendments 2002) regulates the activities of private TV and Radio companies in Ukraine. The National Council on Television is a non-ministerial body for all broadcasters irrespective of their ownership status. It acts as a regulator and grants licenses to TV companies.
On 13 January 2011, the Law on Access to Public Information was adopted in the Parliament by 408 votes. The approval of the Law on Information is the first initiative taken to support journalists during the last 7 years. A director of the Media Law Institute, Taras Shevchenko, stated that the law would broaden possibilities for journalists and destroy the cloak of bureaucratic establishments. Particularly, journalists will have more possibilities to defend their rights, not only through the legal process. At the same time, experts pointed out that the law would not work mechanically because of the lack of regulated mechanisms in public institutions. On 3 February 2011, the President signed the Law on Access to Public Information and it came into force on 10 May 2011.
The special Law on the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting, approved in 1977, establishes a general content quota for broadcasting: Ukrainian productions must have a share of not less than 50% of all programmes. There are also language and advertising time quotas (not more than 20 minutes for an advertising bloc).
The government resolution Provision on the National Screen Time and its Use by Entities of Cinematography and Television, based upon the Law on Cinematography (Article 22), determines the quota for "the demonstration of national films, which is no less than 30% of the national screen time". These quotas are (theoretically) obligatory for all cinemas and video networks as well as for TV channels. In reality, however, there are not enough domestic productions to fill the air time available.
On 3 November 2011, Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) adopted the Law on Amendments to the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting. In particular, this law introduces the following changes:
Thereby, the Parliament abrogated quotas of Ukrainian music in broadcasting and halved quotas of the national audio-visual product. Such amendments were explained by a desire to harmonise Ukrainian Law with the requirements of the European Convention on Trans-Frontier Television. After numerous protests, the speaker of Verkhovna Rada, as reported by the Parliament's press service, decided to suspend signing the law until eliminating differences in the text.