The move by the public broadcaster to give airtime to a documentary film overtly favoring Zelensky administration was viewed as controversial over alleged violation of the broadcasting code principles of impartiality.
The documentary tells a behind-the-scenes story of this year’s Independence day celebration and features first-hand accounts from Zelensky top aides Andriy Yermak and Kyrylo Tymoshenko
Reaction of UA Suspilne managment
Yurii Makarov, the editor-in-chief of UA Suspilne public broadcaster admitted the documentary was ‘offered’ by the president’s office. Makarov said ‘yes’ to broadcasting the film as he found the production ‘interesting’.
Several members of UA Suspilne Supervisory Board have a different take on the situation.
In her comment on the incident, Supervisory Board member Oksana Romaniuk believes it was unacceptable for the public broadcaster.
She called it a ‘promotion’ of Zelensky administration and part of ‘unhealthy processes’ in Ukrainian mediascape.
The drawback prompted ‘Suspilne’ supervisory board to call a meeting to address the issue.
‘What happened after the film was aired was a shame… the documentary was virtually about nothing and Makarov made many mistakes with it’, argued Malazonia who initiated the unscheduled board meeting.
Supervisory board chair Svitlana Ostapa joined the chorus of critics of the decision yet argued the board members have no authority to interfere with editorial policies.
‘We make sure there is no pressure and the content is in line with ‘Suspilne’ broadcasting code… if there is a complaint [on the movie] the supervisory board can look into the issue’
Ostapa admitted members of the board had different views on the matter.
Reaction of media experts
The controversy over the filalleged political advertising of Zelensky adminstration film drew the eye of media experts.
Natalia Lyhacheva, who heads ‘Detektor Media’ watchdog , called out the filmmakers over the insances of misinformation. She argued the concert of Andrea Bocelli in Kyiv promoted as a ‘charity event’ ultimately turned out to be ‘inivitation only’.
She alleged ‘Suspilne’ management agreed to show the documentary due to dependence on government fundind, noting that such questionable decisions should be made by a collective decision of the broadcaster editorial board.
‘UA Suspilne’ management is looking for solutions
The incident can become a game changer for future programming policy at ‘UA Suspilne’
Until recently, the ‘UA Suspilne’ senior executive Yaroslav Lodyhin and editor-in-chief Yurii Makarov claimed the authority over such decisions. Following the backlash, the public broadcaster management said they are going to set up an editorial council that will be in charge of such issues.