It has been announced by Ukrainian media today that the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice has frozen all accounts and funding of the National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (UA:PBC). The move was taken on February 18th and has now put the participation of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in jeopardy.
The debt dates back to 2010
As explained by Hromadske International, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice has had to take this dramatic step in order to retrieve approximately 10 million euros that UA:PBC owes to European television channel Euronews. The debt is a result of the previous Ukrainian public broadcaster, The National Television Company of Ukraine (NTU), prior to its merging with its radio counterpart in 2017 to form UA:PBC. NTU signed a contract with Euronews back in 2010 to create a Ukrainian division of Euronews but NTU later failed to continue to provide the funding as stipulated by the signed contract.
Preparations for Eurovision and Olympics “interrupted”
Representatives from UA:PBC have announced that the actions taken by the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice has “interrupted preparations” for the 2020 Olympic Games, the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest and prevented “the launch of any new projects”. With no assistance given by “various Ukrainian government bodies”, a statement on the UA:PBC website reads as follows:
This freeze will soon lead to the full cessation of activity for the television and radio company, as it prevents the ability of the company to conduct necessary spending for the work of the national television broadcasters UA:Pershii, and UA: Kultura, as well as all UA:PBC regional channels, digital platforms, and three radio stations – UA: Ukrainian Radio, UA: Radio Promin and UA: Radio Kultura.
Paying off debts to create $12 million shortfall
The broadcaster states that all remaining funding in their account will be “immediately transferred” to Euronews. This will make the broadcaster’s 2020 plans “impossible to achieve” as a result of a budget shortfall amounting to approximately $12 million.
UA:PBC will once again enter a survival mode, as it was in previous years due to colossal under-funding, when the broadcaster could only realize the most basic expenditures, without the proper investment needed to create new content or technical upgradesUA:PBC
Broadcaster “could” face dissolution
UA:PBC’s representatives close the matter by stating that a lack of government assistance could lead to the complete “dissolution” of public broadcasting in Ukraine. Thus, this would be the end of UA:PBC’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.