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The problem of objectivity of TV channels was discussed at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future

On May 25 at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future was held a roundtable “For the truth on TV: how to improve the objectivity of TV channels.”

Pavlo Frolov, consultant of the Apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine was the initiator and moderator of this event.

The following people took part in the discussion: People’s Deputy of Ukraine, co-founder of UIF Anton Gerashchenko, Chairman of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine Sergii Tomilenko, Editor-in-chief of “Detector Media” Mariana Zakusylo, blogger Oleksiy Arestovych.

About 20 people visited the event – representatives of the public relations sphere, journalists and political experts.

Pavlo Frolov shared his conclusions after the event:

– National TV channels occupy almost a monopoly position taking into account the impact on the Ukrainian consciousness: 87% of Ukrainians get information about the world from television, for 57% – television is the only source of information.

Media business in Ukraine is a business for the sake of influence on politics, and not for profit. The unprofitability of channels leads to their use by sponsoring owners for personal, selfish purposes and cases of broadcasting corrupt videos or explicit fakes.

To overcome this phenomenon, I have already proposed the introduction of a system for transparency of media financing.

To reduce the number of dirty tricks in the elections, I propose to introduce a new initiative under the working title “Right to reply” for officially registered candidates for the post of President or People’s Deputies. The initiative will legislatively consolidate the opportunity for the candidate to respond to sponsored material on TV.

The protection of freedom of speech and professional TV journalism in this proposal – is a “cornerstone”. Therefore, it is foreseen that the candidate, who received the right to reply, can apply to the court with a claim to recognize the primary information invalid. In case of loss in the court, the candidate must reimburse the TV channel for the received airtime in the amount of double rate of cost of political advertising.

It is also suggested that the right to reply will not be applied in case of: coverage of current official duties of the officials of state bodies and local self-government bodies, personal presence of a candidate at a talk show, his refusal to participate at a show, if there is an audio- or video-record with unnecessarily word-to-word, but similar statements of the candidate, materials in official publications, court decisions on the establishment of certain facts, if the duration of the contested plot is shorter than 20 seconds, at talk shows or when the invited expert non-journalist began to talk about the candidate, and the linkman warned him of the continuation.

In order to preserve the right to determine the own editorial policy of the TV channels, the right to reply may be accompanied by the right of the TV channel to react on reply and give in the air its own “objection” with half the timeline and the captions “channel response.” And the candidate will not have the new right to reply.

More information about the initiative can be found in the document:

Full video discussion is available on YouTube: