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Ukrainian Parliament approves media law needed to join EU

Tuesday, 13 December 2022, 17:13
Ukrainian Parliament approves media law needed to join EU

The Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) has approved the draft media law which the European Commission had defined as one of the criteria for evaluating Ukraine’s progress in its application to join the European Union. 

Member of Parliament Yaroslav Zhelezniak reported this on his Telegram channel, European Pravda writes.

Zhelezniak said 299 MPs had voted for the bill. 

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Here is how the MPs voted: Sluha Narodu (Servant of the People) faction – 195 votes; Yevropeiska Solidarnist (European Solidarity) – 18 votes; Batkivshchyna (Motherland) – 9 votes; Platforma za Zhyttia ta Myr (Platform for Life and Peace) – 15; Za Maibutnie (For the Future) – 11; Holos (Voice) – 14; Dovira (Trust) – 15; Vidnovlennia Ukrainy (Restoration of Ukraine) – 12; non-aligned members of parliament – 10 votes. 

Zhelezniak also said Parliament had accepted compromise positions. He was referring to the status of the Rada TV channel. It has been decided that this channel should provide broadcasting of Parliamentary sessions, and during martial law and restrictions on live broadcasts, the channel has to post recordings on the day of a plenary session.  

Some clauses on electoral legislation have been removed from the draft law. 

On 7 December, the Verkhovna Rada Committee for Humanitarian and Information Policy completed its review of 2,500 amendments to the bill and recommended that MPs approve it in the second reading. 

The new bill expands the powers of Ukraine’s media regulator, the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting, which is precisely why it has been criticised by the opposition. 

Taras Shevchenko, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy, reported in November that Ukraine had received the findings of the European Commission regarding the draft media law. The findings were operational and not too extensive, he said.

The Verkhovna Rada approved the new media law in its first reading on 30 August after it received a positive evaluation from the European Union. 

Opposition politicians criticised the law for supposedly destroying the existing mechanisms enshrined in legislation to protect the Ukrainian language and the national cultural and information space.

Ukraine has to take "seven steps" – the criteria defined by the European Commission - in order to start negotiations on joining the EU. At the moment, its fulfilment of the media law criterion is estimated as 6 out of 10.

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