Ukraine: UA:PBC’s Eurovision participation in danger due to threat of closure?

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 1,853 views

The EBU’s official website has released an article stating that UA:PBC, the Ukrainian national broadcaster is under threat of closure. If this were to happen what will happen to the country’s Eurovision participation in Lisbon? Will Ukraine be barred from partaking in the competition?

UA:PBC, the national broadcaster of Ukraine aka last year’s Eurovision host broadcaster might be forced to shut down by the end of April if it doesn’t secure the required funding.

UA:PBC’s managers spoke at the Council  of Europe Conference in Kyiv last week and stressed the urgency of finding adequate funding for the broadcaster which has been functioning with only half the budget prescribed by Ukrainian law.

The Ukrainian national broadcaster which celebrated its first birthday earlier this year, is currently undergoing a challenging process of restructuring to consolidate 28 regional units throughout the country, reduce staff numbers and make the switch to digital.

At last week’s conference, Members of Parliament, public service media experts, relevant institutions and representatives of civil society, came together to discuss funding models and best practice for public service media.

Finding sustainable funding for public service media in Ukraine is a long term ambition which will require changes in the legal framework and a new collection mechanism. At the same time, the broadcaster needs an urgent short term solution to ensure it can continue to function until the end of the year.

Ms. Radka Betcheva ( EBU’s Head of Member Relations CEE) says:

We are extremely concerned that the lack of sustainable funding for UA:PBC will stifle the growth and development of this important democratic institution and is threatening its very existence at the current time. This may jeopardise Ukraine’s EU accession talks and endanger further EU financial help moving forward.

In the wake of these developments ESCToday has contacted both the EBU and UA:PBC in order to shed more light on this matter and clarify the situation afflicting the Ukrainian broadcaster and its effect on Ukraine’s Eurovision participation at the forthcoming 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon.

Ukraine in Eurovision

Ukraine debuted in Eurovision in 2003 and has won the competition on two ocassions, namely in 2004 with Ruslana and in 2016 with Jamala.

The country is amongst the most successful countries in the contest and has never missed a Eurovision Grand Final since its debut, with the exception of 2015 when the country Ukraine withdrew from the contest. Ukraine has achieved a total of 9 Top 10 placings in its 14 year history in the event.

Ukriane has hosted the Eurovision Song Contest twice: 2005 and 2017.  Melovin was crowned the winner of the 2018 Ukrainian national final and will fly to Lisbon to defend the Ukrainian colours at the upcoming Eurovision edition in Portugal.

Ukraine will compete in the Second Semi-final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest on 10 May in Lisbon.