Media Experts Criticize Draft of the Law “On Oligarchs;” President’s Office Says It’s the Wrong Draft
May 28 – Mirror Weekly (ZN.ua) published an article analyzing the anticipated draft law “On Oligarchs.” The text of the law which ZN received from confidential sources defines an oligarch as a person who participates in political life, influences media, and has a large business. According to the analysis of ZN.ua editor Yulia Samayeva, the wording of the draft law may prompt owners who meet the criteria of “oligarch” to sell their media or make sure those media are not “sharing information focused on politics,” which includes “discussing the activities of people in power, local authorities, political parties, MPs and other representatives of the state.”
Oksana Romaniuk, IMI executive director, in her comments to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), said de-oligarchization of media includes:
- media market de-monopolization;
- strengthening self-regulation in media;
- improving the competence of the National Council on TV and Radio Broadcasting by improving transparency of media ownership;
- ensuring the independence of journalists;
- imposing appropriate fines for interference with editorial policies; and
- introducing concepts of “media market,” “media monopoly,” “owners’ interference in content” to legislation.
Yuriy Nikolov, editor of the Nashi Hroshi online site, highlighted the importance of this law because of how, in his view, media oligarchs influence the state and public opinion. However he said that according to his reading of the draft law, oligarchs will be able to get around restrictions simply by transferring their media assets to third parties.
Speaker of the Office of the President Mykhailo Podoliak called ZN.ua’s analysis irrelevant and stated that the text ZN.ua acquired is not the text of the draft law, and that the Office of the President is still working on the draft.
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