Network of state TV channels, parliamentary committees’ dictatorship, and responsible parenting

26 January 2022
Network of state TV channels, parliamentary committees’ dictatorship, and responsible parenting
Home > Monitoring > Network of state TV channels, parliamentary committees’ dictatorship, and responsible parenting

For the first time in over a month, the Verkhovna Rada will have a plenary week. MPs are preparing to violate Ukrainian obligations to the PACE concerning state-owned TV channels, infringe the right of the opposition to initiate legislation, and change regulations on the issues of parenting.

Solve IDPs’ problems and start broadcasting TV channel DOM all over Ukraine

Draft bill #3387 of December 11, 2020

Status: second reading, MPs can take a vote on the bill this week.

Who is affected: internally displaced persons, cable operators, government bodies, local governments, and Ukrainian citizens.

Summary of the bill:

  • the bill proposes to create a database of internally displaced persons. A certificate from this database will be proof that a person was indeed internally displaced

  • IDPs will be obliged to notify the state about their return to the place they have been forced to leave earlier

  • when a local government registers a person as an IDP then it will also mean that this person has a permanent residence on the territory of this community. In other words, IDPs will be granted the same rights as other members of the community, including political rights

  • a “universal program service” (a list of channels that operators on the territory of Ukraine are obliged to broadcast) will now also cover SE “International broadcasting multimedia platform of Ukraine”, a parent company of TV channels “DOM” and “UATV.”

Why this is important:

  • State Enterprise “International broadcasting multimedia platform of Ukraine” targets Ukrainians living in the occupied territories/abroad and foreign citizens. Editorial policies of its channels have to get approvals from government bodies that make sure that the channels promote a Ukrainian narrative. This platform broadcasts mainly in Russian

  • back in 1999, Ukraine took an obligation before the Council of Europe to stop interfering with editorial policies of state-funded media. The establishment of an independent public broadcaster is one of the major achievements of the Revolution of Dignity.

What is right: the bill grants more rights to IDPs. They will get easier access to administrative and medical services, will be able to participate in elections.

What is wrong:

  • by extending the broadcasting of the channels “DOM” and “UATV” to the whole territory of Ukraine, MPs propose to create a nationwide state TV network controlled by the government. These channels, as well as the channel “Rada” that is supposed to be rebooted soon, are subordinate to the Cabinet and thus, taking into account the current political situation, to the President

  • the authorities use IDPs’ problems to cover up an attempt to legitimize the creation of a media network that will be governed by them while paid for with taxpayers’ money.

Additional information:

Alternative solution: the original draft bill addressed only issues of IDPs’ registration and rights. Amendments about TV channels were added by the Committee. It will be right to adopt only the part about IDPs’ registration and rights, changes addressing the TV channels should be removed from the bill.

Speed up consideration of draft bills in the second reading

Draft bill #3415 of April 29, 2020

Status: second reading, MPs can take a vote on the bill this week.

Who is affected: MPs, especially MPs from the opposition, parliamentary committees, and Ukrainian citizens.

Background: in April of 2020, MPs introduced a special procedure for consideration of draft bills in the second reading. It was done to stop “the legislative spam. This new procedure significantly restricts MPs’ right to initiate legislation.

Summary of the bill: changes the special procedure for consideration of draft bills in the second reading. In particular:

  • each MP will have the right to insist on only one of his or her amendments/proposals even if he or she has submitted many amendments/proposals. Currently, only factions and groups have this right

  • when it comes to amendments that a committee has approved, MPs will be able to vote only whether to reject them. In other words, only 226 MPs will be able to reject an amendment approved by the committee

  • a time limit for authors of the rejected amendments and proposals to argue their cases will be extended up to 5 minutes.

What is wrong:

  • the proposed procedure is unconstitutional since it infringes the MPs’ right to initiate legislation. Sooner or later laws adopted under this procedure will be repealed by the Constitutional Court

  • the bill will establish “the dictatorship of committees.” It will become almost impossible to reject amendments proposed by parliamentary committees. Thus, it will be for a small group of MPs to decide how to amend a draft bill, not the whole Parliament. Also, this will deprive the opposition of any opportunity to change final versions of draft bills.

Promote responsible parenting

Draft bill #3667 of July 16, 2020

Status: first reading. MPs still have time to amend the draft bill.

Who is affected: parents, especially underage parents, Ukrainian citizens, children, child protective services, government bodies, and local governments.

Summary of the bill:

  • the bill provisions that in cases when an underage person becomes a parent, his or her legal representatives are obliged to help. The amount of help for such families will be calculated by child protective services of the respective local government

  • it will be allowed for couples with children to get a divorce without going to court. To do that, parents will have to conclude an agreement on who is to take the children and how the other will help in raising them, participate in decisions about education and medical treatment, what will be the alimony amount. Civil registration will decide on divorce after 30 days since the papers have been submitted

  • if an agreement has not been reached, all these issues will be decided in court. While making a decision, the court will have to take into account the child’s opinion, his or her age, health conditions, mental health conditions of the parents, whether they are addicted to alcohol or narcotics, incidents of domestic violence, etc.

  • it will be allowed to change the surname of a child under 14 years if one of his or her parents has died, disappeared, been recognized as legally incapable, or deprived of parental rights. Also, children over 14 years will be allowed to change their surname at their discretion.

What is right:

  • it will be easier for couples with children to get divorced if they have agreed on further parenting. Currently, even if a couple with children has no disagreements, getting a divorce is possible only through legal action. Legal proceedings can take a long time and change nothing in cases of an amicable settlement

  • underage parents will get additional state guarantees. Government bodies will support young families

  • families with a single mother or a single father where the second parent has died, disappeared, or been deprived of parental rights, will get additional support.