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A television broadcast of the inauguration of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in 2014. Photo: Getty Images.

In 2017, Suspilne, Ukraine’s public broadcaster, kick-started a transformation. Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the broadcaster and its previous incarnations had for the most part screened a combination of stale, Soviet-style content and PR for politicians. However, over the past two years, it has built on a reform roadmap developed in 2014 to revamp its structure and deliver better quality programming.

But now funding cuts threaten to derail the reforms and leave Ukraine without an essential component of building an information-savvy society and a healthier democracy.

A good start

The reforms so far have improved the quality and independence of content and reshaped Suspilne’s bloated internal structure.…  Seguir leyendo »

Following the 2004 Orange Revolution, an effort to establish a public broadcaster was hijacked by allies of the then-president Victor Yushchenko. Photo by Getty Images.

Ukrainian business moguls still own seven of the country’s eight major TV stations. But, three years after mass protests gripped the nation, demanding political and social reform, the old system continues to resist change – including to its media.

There are signs of progress. Two years ago, a new law passed requiring Ukraine’s only state-owned National TV and Radio Broadcasting Company (NTU) to become an independent, public broadcaster. The NTU was restructured with the appointment of an independent board of trustees representing parliament, civil society and media professionals, and public investment amounting to 0.2 per cent of the state budget. Yet, even with the NTU’s single-digit percentage share of the media market, the change has been viewed as a threat to the interests of the country’s political and business elites.…  Seguir leyendo »