Ukraine: EBU extremely worried as UA:PBC faces further budget cuts in 2019

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 1,111 views

The European Broadcasting Union is extremely worried with UA:PBC’s current financial afflictions and budget deficit. The Ukrainian national broadcaster might face a further 43% cut in its annual budget in 2019.

In 2018 the Ukrainian national broadcaster was only allocated half of the stipulated budget by the Ukrainian government, eventhough the Law on Public Television and Broadcasting of Ukraine had set out a clear budget for the PSM (public media service).

The Ukrainian Parliament has adopted a draft law on the state budget which is set to reduce UA:PBC’s annual budget to 1 billion UAH ( circa 30 million euros) for 2019, hence if this law is endorsed  the broadcaster will only receive 57% of the annual budget defined in state law.​

Mr. Zurab Alasania (Director General of UA:PBC) feels that this move could lead to the end of public service media in Ukraine.

Mr. Zurab Alasania commented:

We are very surprised at such proposals since we are barely surviving the current year. By doing this they violate all laws and lead us to death. It is not an exaggeration. It is impossible to exist this way.

The Ukrainian national broadcaster is currently facing a deficit of 220 million UAH (circa 7 million euros) due to the reduction of its budget and low income, which has led to the termination of UA:PBC’s analogue broadcast throughout the country.

A special conference was held in the Ukrainian capital recently,  in order to discuss UA:PBC’s current financial afflictions and budget crisis. The conference concluded that the current financing model is not effective for UA:PBC as the broadcaster is struggling to make ends meet and unable to fulfil its obligations to society and to democracy.

The EBU has called again on the Ukrainian Government to ensure appropriate, fair and independent funding for UA:PBC in line with the Ukrainian Law and European standards.

UA:PBC is currently facing stiff financial problems and is looking for different avenues in order to finance itself including taking a loan.

The European Broadcasting Union has been urging the Ukrainian government to resolve this situation and allocate the required funds to UA:PBC so it can operate properly.

UA:PBC has one of the smallest budgets in Europe. This year the Ukrainian broadcaster has only received half of its budget (defined by national law).

Earlier this year the EBU released an article stating that the Ukrainian national broadcaster, UA:PBC ,was under threat of closure due to lack of funding.

Ukraine in Eurovision 2019?

Last month UA:PBC confirmed to ESCToday its participation at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv. Hereafter UA:PBC and private Ukrainian broadcaster STB signed a three year contract extending their current partnership to organize the Ukrainian national selection for Eurovision.

Furthermore STB will be covering the expenses and financial costs of the 2019 Ukrainian national selection Vidbir. The private broadcaster will be also supporting the 2019 Ukrainian Eurovision hopeful financially and taking care of his/her travel to Tel Aviv and pre contest promotion and preparations.

The 2019 Ukrainian national final is scheduled to be held on 23 February 2019.

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 15 year history in the event.

Ukriane has hosted the Eurovision Song Contest twice: 2005 and 2017. In 2018 Melovin flew to Lisbon and defended the Ukrainian colours at the Eurovision Song Contest with his entry Under the ladder.