On April 14 Public Council on defence of liberty of speech organized "round table" on the subject "Liberty of speech in Ukraine: establishment of civil society or returning to controlled democracy". Participants of the meeting were trying to answer the question "Are there problems with liberty of speech in Ukraine?"

Public Council worries about negative relationships between Mass-Medias and new government. Statements about closing, pressure and persecution of several Mass-Medias and journalists cause worry of public and community of experts.

Leading journalists, top-managers of Mass- Medias, politicians, political scientists and public figures gathered on the meeting and expressed their opinion concerning problems of Ukrainian Mass- Medias.

Oles Donyj, Research Center of political valuables

Under Kuchma’s regime "unfavourable" persons were liquidated secretly. The new power openly announces the next "victim" of revolutionary practicability. I want to say that we made revolution to change the system, but not to change some oligarchs to others. Now the fears appear that there will no expected changes, in particular the changes in the sphere of Mass - Medias.

We see that problems with Mass - Medias have already started due to the wishes of some player on media - market to redistribute frequencies. But political and business aims have nothing common with observance of liberty of speech and equal chances among all representatives of media – business.

The government should count all military frequencies and distribute them by means of open contest between channels, which pretend to them.

Nyckolay Knyazhitsky, director of "Media - dom" Company

Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the law, according to which Verkhovna Rada or the president can recall any member of National Council of television and radio broadcasting. In Europe functions of regulating authority and functions of the administration do not cross. In our case it is senseless to talk about independence of National Council.

Presently, National Council does not have strict criterion of the contest. The situation around NTN appeared due to inactivity of Council, which forced the channel to find the problem solution in Court.

Now Piskun (General prosecutor of Ukraine – ed.) is fighting not with bureaucracy or National Council, but with NTN. Why does he fight exactly with the channel? Why not with Poroshenko, for example, who is a duel jobholder (the secretary of National Security and Defence Council and the deputy at the same time), which is illegal.

As for the monopoly on the media-market - monopolization is limited in our country. According to the Law, less than 33% of media-market is not considered monopolization. NTN has only 1% of the market, but 50% belong to "Inter" and "1+1".

Alexander Palyj, coordinator of Public Council Secretariat on liberty of speech and information (attached to Committee of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on liberty of speech and information)

There is no centralized pressure on Mass- Medias. Everybody talks about everything he wants.

Vladimir Phesenko, political scientist

The preparations to the parliamentary elections 2006 have already started, and the new administration has strong temptation to redistribute everything. The aim of the power is to redistribute media space and to reduce ascendancy of the opposition. The main object of blow is not NTN, but the channels "Inter" and "1+1".

Vitaly Kulik, director of Research Center of civil society problems

Redistribution of media space before election campaign 2006 is a reality. The problem is that this process can take two courses: a) according to "revolutionary expediency", b) according to the law.

It is more practical to keep stability in the sphere of media and to remove the problem of liberty of speech as such. "Liberty of speech" as a pre-election advertisement can become a subject of speculation for different political forces. As a result, this game will appear outside Ukraine. Already now the problem of liberty of speech in Ukraine causes worry in international structures.

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