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As expected, National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council named parliamentary channel "Rada" the winner of the competition for obtaining a broadcast license in the multichannel network MX-5. The decision was made unanimously, but left an unpleasant precipitate for the four other contestants, as long before the meeting of the National Council appeared evidence of its formality. And after today's statements by members of the National Council and even people's deputies present at the meeting, the victory of the "Rada" was predetermined, because, quoting the People's Deputy Heorhiy Shverk, the state simply "has no place to express its point of view" and therefore it needs a "channel that will bring the truth," says the head of the National Council Yuriy Artemenko.
Now only 28 TV channels are national. On May 1, 2016, the channel "Vintage" was disconnected by the provider-monopolist "Zeonbud" due to the debt over 2 million USD. In December 2016, the National Council did not allow the provider to exclude the channel from the network, but in six months, July 20, it happened.
Interestingly, "Vintage" had a valid license at that time, however, the chairman of the National Council Yuriy Artemenko stated at that it was necessary to comply with the court decision (to allow Zeonbud to disable the channel), after which it was decided to announce a competition for the vacant space in the multiplex.
However, such a rush has a clear explanation. In a letter to the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy, the head of the National Council Yuriy Artemenko proposed to consider the issue of obtaining a license for digital broadcasting for the TV channel "Rada".
Apparently, the "Rada" agreed with the proposal of the head of the National Council, and in March 2017 (4 months before the announcement of the competition), an annual plan for the procurement of the TV channel "Rada" was published, which provided for costs of 4.29 million hryvnias for telecommunication services Zeonbud on the distribution in digital format of the television signal.
Only after that, at the end of July, the National Council announced a competition itself. Probably, in order to be able to finish all the formalities by the end of the year, as the money for 2017has already been allocated. That is, the competition was initially planned for one player - the parliamentary television channel. The falsifications of the competition were reported by people's deputies and different media.
Probably, in order to avoid too many contest wishers, the National Council issued a deposit of 5 thousand USD.
Nevertheless, four more channels - "112 Ukraine", "NewsOne", "Plus Plus" and "Gravis-Kino" - have submitted applications for the competition. Regarding the channel "112 Ukraine", its victory in the competition would also mean free space for the regional frequencies, which could then be transferred to other broadcasters. For almost four years, licenses for "112 Ukraine" channel have been the source of the conflict between the channel and the National Council, which more than 25 times refused the group of companies in reissuing licenses.
"It seems to me personally as a people's deputy that in a country that is conducting an information war in a country that is suffering from information aggression, state's ability to express its position is considerably limited. Now the state has no means of communication of its own, except the TV channel "Rada," said MP from Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc, notorious former member of the National Council Heorhiy Shverk.
People's Deputy Oleg Barna also decided to come to support the parliamentary channel. "Honestly speaking, I will advocate that certain strategic spheres should remain in the state's ownership. Radio and television are one of these areas. We see how much some unscrupulous translators of the information product can manipulate through the media space, which is politicized now. This is a serious problem in Ukraine. The only state channel should be able to provide objective information about the activities of the highest body of the state," said Barna.
When it came to voting, the head of the National Council, Yuriy Artemenko, tried to explain why he would vote for "Rada". "I will vote for "Rada" because I prefer a channel that is not that objective... We in our private channels express our opinion. "Rada" is like a mirror in which one can see that that this or that deputy is bad...The state channel must inform and tell the truth, voters should know about what is happening in the parliament," Artemenko said.
Representatives of "112 Ukraine" were criticized at the meeting of the National Council. "112 Ukraine" decided not to be silent, but openly talk about the rigging of the contest. They also said a license that the National Council does not want to reissue, and broadcast the meeting live, and even some pressure on the members of the council. During the voting, not a single member of the National Council voted for "112 Ukraine", although the channel is the leader of information broadcasting in the country and by the level of the product has long been ready to enter the all-Ukrainian level.
Under the terms of the contest, a television channel, which has at least half of the total content of socially important programs, could receive a license for all-Ukrainian broadcasting. "Rada" broadcasts the meetings of the parliament, and its trump card is "live broadcast of all briefings of people's deputies." The deputies usually lobby their bills on them.
The victory of the "Rada" TV channel in the contest will cost the state budget about 18 million UAH per year - so much will maintain digital broadcasting, that is, more than 700 thousand USD for the entire term of the license. Yuriy Artemenko suggests not to worry about this, the deputies will find the money.