Over a year ago, we reported that the Ukrainian broadcaster, UA:PBC, were having a hard time due to not being funded properly by the Ukrainian government. The EBU released a statement, describing their alarm and concern at the situation. Today, we can report that the Ukrainian government has forced UA:PBC, the only EBU member station in Ukraine, to terminate analogue broadcasts.
An end to Ukraine’s Eurovision participation?
The reason for the termination is that the broadcaster is in a severe amount of debt to the government. UA:PBC has one of the smallest budgets of all European broadcasters. To make matters worse, this year the government gave them only half the budget defined by Ukrainian law. So, if the Ukrainian government does not supply adequate funding to UA:PBC, this may mean that Ukraine will withdraw from future Eurovision events.
The EBU responds
The Director General of the EBU, Noel Curran, has responded to the news that UA:PBC’s analogue broadcasts have been terminated:
We are dismayed that the authorities have taken the decision to deprive the Ukrainian people of this important public service.
We urge the authorities to restore transmissions immediately and allocate the necessary funding to allow public service media to fulfil its critical role to society and to democracy in Ukraine.EBU Director General Noel Curran
The EBU also points out that with the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Ukraine taking place next year, access to independent, pluralistic news and information is incredibly important.
The official twitter account of the Office of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, has also responded:
What are your thoughts on this news? Do you think the Ukrainian government will now adequately fund UA:PBC? Finally, would you miss Ukraine in Eurovision?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA