Yehor Benkendorf, Director General of the National Television Company of Ukraine
The coverage of 2012 parliamentary elections will become the main autumn event for our channel. Undoubtedly we constitute a part of the large and complex mechanism for the provision of electoral rights of each Ukrainian citizen. The profundity of information on the lections 2012 received by each of our viewers will depend on our work. Similar tasks for NTU activities are set by the provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine as well as the Law of Ukraine on Information and the Law of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting. In accordance with the laws mentioned above NTU in its activities should be guided by the obligatory guarantee of citizens' rights to freedom of opinion and speech, free expression of views and beliefs. It should also ensure ideological and political plurality and adherence to professional ethics and universal norms of morality.
Therefore we approach the coverage of the Peoples' Deputies of Ukraine elections with maximum concentration and full recognition of the importance of tasks the First National faces today. In particular, prior to the official beginning of the election process we have developed the general concept of 2012 elections coverage on the basis of equal access for every candidate. We have also timely released the information on the cost of air time for the election campaign. Moreover, NTU has started the negotiating process regarding the coverage of political parties' activities during the election campaign at the beginning of 2012 by offering all the parties registered by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine our support both before and during the official election race.
The early negotiations between political actors and the First National Television Channel gave good results. For several last weeks our viewers have got the chance to see the congresses of all the leading political parties of Ukraine participating in the elections. During our broadcast political parties announced to the public the names of their nominees, presented election programs, and confirmed the election lists of candidates. In particular, from the beginning of August we have broadcast the 14th congress of the Party of Regions which had been watched by over 3 million people; congress of Joint Opposition Batkivshchyna headed by Oleksandr Turchynov and Arsenii Yatseniuk; and the 10th congress of Vitalii Klychko's UDAR party. And as the direct consequence of us not dividing the parties into big and small ones has become the opportunity for our viewers to watch congresses of Ukraina-Vpered! Party led by Natalia Korolevska and Radical Party led by Oleh Liashko.
I would like to mention that transmissions of party congresses have been held on equal terms for all the participants. All the political actors which had expressed interest in cooperation with the First National and entered into respective agreements took the floor with no exception. In turn the election activities of the parties which for one reason or another had not broadcast their congresses live were widely covered by other programs. In such a manner we have told about the 45th congress of the Communist Party of Ukraine headed by Petro Symonenko and public events involving Viktor Yushchenko's Nasha Ukraina party, VO Svoboda led by Oleh Tiahnybok, Zelena Planeta led by Serhii Oriekhov; and VO Hromada led by Ivan Lazarenko.
It should be mentioned that appearance of one or another political party on air of the First National today is not a novelty in the majority of cases. It is a continuation of fruitful cooperation over several past years. We have always concentrated our attention on the politics of Ukraine and therefore the audience of the First National TV Channel has a chance to stay constantly aware of the activities of the Party of Regions, Batkivshchyna, Front Zmin, Volodymyr Lytvyn's Block, as well as smaller parties of both left and right direction. In addition to coverage of current activities of parties and particular politicians we also provided air time for party advertisements and party leaders had a chance to congratulate our viewers on outstanding holidays of Ukrainian calendar.
During the pre-election period the First National will traditionally provide air time for political parties that are electoral subjects for direct campaigning. According to the laws of Ukraine On the Election of People's Deputies of Ukraine and On the Central Election Commission, cooperation between Central Commission and the First National TV Channel provides for special draw procedure concerning the sequence of particular speeches, assignation of special campaigning time (which also coincides with television prime time between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.), and obligatory provision of the equality principle. Moreover, political parties or candidates have the right not only to speak live but also to provide a recorded program, film, or interview instead.
In addition, the channel will continue production of social and political non-campaigning talk-shows where guest politicians and experts will be able to talk about the main tasks of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the seventh convocation and share their vision of political processes in the country. More attention will be devoted to live coverage of major political events. Therefore we will ask various political actors to inform us in advance on the events they would propose for coverage at our Channel.
Today the First National is both organizationally and technically ready to continue the cooperation with interested political actors. For the following two months the Channel will please its viewers with a wide coverage of the elections 2012. There is a lot of work ahead and I would like to call on every politician to keep an active public activity because we as a powerful broadcaster with almost 100% territory coverage can deliver your beliefs, values, and political tasks to millions of people in the most remote parts of Ukraine. The voters have the right to know about the plans of the politicians to be elected to Verkhovna Rada. Together we will ensure the realization of each citizen's constitutional voting rights.