The EBU’s intervention followed a decision by the Ukrainian parliament to adopt a draft budget that will cut the pubaster’s annual budget to just UAH1 billion (€30 million). Despite the country’s public television and broadcasting law setting out a clear budget for public service media in the country, the EBU says that UA:PBC has received only half of the budgeted amount this year.
The organisation cited UA:PBC director-general Zurabi Alasaniia as saying that the latest proposals “violate all laws and [will] lead us to death”.
Alasaniia said that the broadcaster was “barely surviving” under its current allocation. According to the EBU, UA:PBC has a deficient of UAH220 million following the cut to its income this year. Analogue distribution of the service was recently axed by the state-owned Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Television Company of Ukraine. UA:PBC has meanwhile moved to seek alternative funding, including taking a loan, to continue operating.
The EBU, which was instrumental in setting up UA:PBC four years ago, called on the Ukrainian government to ensure appropriate, fair and independent funding of the broadcaster in line with Ukrainian law and European standards.