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Strengthening Freedom of Media, Access to Information and Reinforcing Public Broadcasting System in Ukraine
Summer School on Human Rights took place in Kyiv with the support of the Council of Europe
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WHAT IS THE PROJECT ABOUT?
The Council of Europe Project “Strengthening freedom of media, access to information and reinforcing public broadcasting system in Ukraine” (the Project) aims
This is a bridging project in Ukraine to keep the support of the reforms in the field of media ongoing after the completion of the Council of Europe Project “Strengthening Freedom of the Media and Establishing a Public Broadcasting System in Ukraine”, implemented within the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2015-2017.
DONORS AND TIMEFRAME OF THE PROJECT
The total budget of the Project is EUR 700 000,00.
The Project is financed from the voluntarily donors’ contributions in the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2018-2021.
The consortium of donors to the Action Plan for Ukraine includes: Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, European Union, the Human Rights Trust Fund (Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom), the Netherlands, Ireland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Turkey, Latvia.
The Project’s implementation period is 1 July 2018 - 31 August 2019.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE ACTION PLAN FOR UKRAINE 2018-2021
The Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2018-2021 is a strategic programming instrument which aims, through co-operation, to accompany the country in its efforts to bring legislation, institutions and practice further into line with European standards in the areas of human rights, the rule of law and democracy and, through this, to support the country in meeting its obligations as a Council of Europe member State.
In this Action Plan, the Council of Europe and Ukraine have agreed to jointly carry forward, through cooperation programmes, the reforms aiming, among others, to enhance the role of public broadcaster, increase access to public information, protect personal data and improve independence of the media and safety of journalists. It has also been agreed to promote gender equality and to enhance the civil society’s role in the reform processes.
SITUATION IN THE SPHERE OF MEDIA IN UKRAINE
Serious progress with the support by the Council of Europe was achieved in the creation of a public broadcaster, reform of state and communal printed media, transparency of media ownership, ensuring safety of journalists, access to public information and other reforms in Ukraine in 2016-2018. The relevant legal framework has been developed and enacted. The legal entity of the Ukrainian public broadcaster (UA:PBC) was registered in January 2017. The head and members of the Management Board as well as regional managers of UA:PBC were elected at transparent and competitive elections in 2017-2018. However, at the beginning of important structural and content changes the Public broadcaster remains underfinanced.
A positive development in the area of access to public information happened when in April 2018 the Minister of Justice of Ukraine signed the Council of Europe 2009 Tromso Convention On Access to Official Documents which should be further ratified by the Parliament of Ukraine.
Ukraine is to enter an important election circle – presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019 and local elections in 2020. There is a crucial necessity to support the national stakeholders, both national authorities involved into the electoral process and civil society organizations, in ensuring balanced, unbiased, neutral media coverage of elections, to prevent and counteract violations in media coverage of elections and disruptive influence of information disorder on the results of elections as well as to create effective model of control over political advertising during elections.
The situation with safety of journalists – physical and digital - remained important for the Ukrainian society throughout 2017 as Ukrainian journalists continued to suffer from violence. Upon official request of the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy the Council of Europe provided in 2017 the expert assessment of the Ukrainian criminal legislation in the area of protection of the professional activity of journalists which would serve as a road map when planning future changes of the legislation on safety of journalists.
PROJECT’S PLANNED ACTIVITIES AND EXPECTED RESULTS
- independence of the Public Service Broadcaster is ensured and guaranteed by law and its capacity to provide unbiased and trustworthy coverage of the events is increased;
- Regulatory and self-regulatory mechanisms for ensuring balanced and unbiased coverage of elections strengthened, a concept of new legal framework on political advertising during elections is developed;
- Enhanced safety of journalists, particularly during election period, as a result of increased protection by the legal framework and practices as well as effective fight against impunity of those who attack them.
The Project plans its major activities as follows:
In the area of Public Broadcasting:
- Supporting transition to public service broadcasting through developing procedures for improving the quality of content (especially on/for minorities, children and on gender), peer-to-peer exchange with European public broadcasters;
- Expert and methodological support to Supervisory Board;
- Awareness raising activities on the need to ensure sustainable mechanism of proper funding of the Public Broadcaster jointly with the Parliament of Ukraine and civil society;
- Improving the skills for producing high quality content of regional editorial offices of UA:PBC, including the topics related to national minorities;
- Training on the role of the Public Broadcaster in the elections’ coverage for the staff and management of UA:PBC;
- Awareness campaign on public broadcasting.
In the area of media coverage of elections:
- Media monitoring and counteracting information disorder during upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine and support in creating mechanism of quick responses to propaganda and other violations;
- Developing self-regulatory rules for balanced and unbiased coverage of elections in partnership with self-regulatory bodies and presenting it to journalists at a series of regional seminars;
- Carrying out an expert legislative gap analysis to identify most problematic areas in regulation of media coverage of elections and defining new effective model of regulating political advertising during elections. Expert support to Regulator’s work during elections;
- Training on ethical standards, regulation, physical and digital safety of journalists in context of elections;
- Support in implementation of the Council of Europe expertise of articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (prepared in 2017) on safety of journalists;
- Strengthening capacity of the Ministry of Information Policy and other stakeholders in the area of information security, particularly during election period, in line with the European standards.
Our main partners are:
- Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy,
- National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (or UA:PBC),
- National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine,
- Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson),
- Presidential Administration of Ukraine,
- Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine,
- civil society and media organisations,
- relevant professional associations.
HOW TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH THE PROJECT?
If you are interested in activities of the Project, please follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CoEUPSIS
Project’s publications are available at: https://issuu.com/mediaprojects_coe
8 Illinska str., 7entrance, 6th floor
04070 Kyiv, Ukraine
Project Manager in Strasbourg:
Senior Project Officer: