NewsNews21 January 2019

The statement of the 1+1 media group regarding the unlawful awarding of a fine by the National Council to the Paramount Comedy TV channel

The 1+1 media group, as a co-partner of the Ukrainian TV channel Paramount Comedy, is outraged by the decision of the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting to levy a fine on the TV channel. In our opinion, this decision does not comply with the norms established by law, is completely illegal and contradicts the procedures of the state regulator.

Paramount Comedy is a Ukrainian TV channel that broadcasts under a state license issued by the National Council and carries out its activities in accordance with the broadcasting standards for Ukrainian TV channels established by law. This was a conscious decision, despite the fact that the 1+1 media group had the opportunity to launch an adapted version of the international Comedy Central for the partner channel. Today, the weekly percentage of broadcasting in Ukrainian on Paramount Comedy is 99%, which is the result of great efforts of the media group, in contrast to adapted foreign TV channels, to which the mentioned requirements do not apply.

Considering the current situation, we have every reason to conclude that the policy of the National Council is subjective and selective in relation to individual TV channels.

Thus, after the meeting of the National Council on January 17, 2019, a press release was published on its official website about the regulator's decision to issue a warning to the Paramount Comedy TV channel for non-compliance with the specified share in the broadcaster's programs of nationally produced programs. However, later, for unknown reasons, changes were made to the press release - instead of a warning about the channel, a decision was published to impose a "fine" sanction in the amount of 5% of the license fee.

This decision is completely contrary to the legal procedure for issuing sanctions for violations of the legislation on television and radio broadcasting, according to which a penalty for such violations is applied after the announcement of a warning in the event that the television company does not eliminate the violation within the specified time.

We noted that the draft decision, which was broadcast on the screens in the hall during the meeting of the National Council, contained information about issuing a warning. This can be confirmed not only by a representative from the media group, but also by journalists and other participants who were present at the meeting.

Considering these facts, we do not understand on what grounds, how and when the National Council made a decision to collect a fine from the Paramount Comedy TV channel.

"This decision is another example of double standards and political manipulation of the regulator in relation to the media group and its partners. One gets the impression that chaos is taking place inside the state apparatus in the midst of the election campaign. The decisions that are submitted for consideration and the decisions that are then published on official resources are fundamentally different, and the council itself cannot explain this process, - comments the general director of 1+1 media Oleksandr Tkachenko . - We are also frankly surprised by the content of the adopted Decision. Paramount Comedy has never violated state quotas on television, and therefore the penalty for the first violation is frankly excessive, considering that the channel was only 25 minutes of nationally produced television product short of reaching the norm."

In the current situation, we do not see legal grounds for issuing a decision on the collection of a fine, therefore, as a co-partner of Paramount Comedy, the 1+1 media group will defend its rights and will appeal to the court to challenge the regulator's decision.

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