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Ukraine moves ahead with public broadcaster plan

Ukraine is moving ahead with plans to merge National Television of Ukraine (NTU) and National Radio Company of Ukraine (NRCU) into a single public broadcaster, prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has confirmed.

Addessing a conference sponsored by Canada and organised by the EBU, the Council of Europe and NTU, Yatsenyuk said that Ukraine had “a huge need to establish public service media”.

The conference followed adoption by Ukraine’s parliament in April of a law bringing together NTU, NRCU, a state culture channel and 25 regional broadcasters. Yatsenyuk said that the government was ready to implement the law “without delay”.

According to the EBU, there has been some confusion over the legal form of the new pubcaster, which Yatsenyuk said should be a “public joint-stock company”.

Larysa Mudrak, deputy head of regulator the National TV and Radio Council of Ukraine, said she hoped the new entity could come into being on January 1 2015.

Separately, Russia has begun broadcasting its first and second digital-terrestrial TV multiplexes in Crimea, the territory it annexed from Ukraine in March.

The Russian Ministry of Communications said state broadcasting organisation RTR had initiated broadcasts in DVB-T2 from transmitters in 17 cities including Kerch, Sevastopol, Simferopol and Yalta.

Ukrainian DTT operator Zeonbud had begun building out a DVB-T2 network in the peninsula in 2011, covering 28 cities.