UKRAINE – This morning MediaPort became aware of the resignation, filed by the General Director of NTU. His action Zurab Alasania explained by the following reasons
THE LETTER OF RESIGNATION
The country needs a public service broadcaster like clean air in the environment poisoned by industry. Nevertheless, expectations of the public in terms of the time-frame are not realistic: being on the inside, one realizes that in our conditions, provided you do not violate the laws in any way, but rather change together with the laws — the reform will take much longer. Alongside with that, and just as slowly, the Soviet thinking of employees will be changing. Most of them are still certain that the company does not exist to create content useful for people, but exclusively in order to support them, the employees (been proved by the trade unions).
Responsibility for this kind of work is difficult purely psychologically; everything else can be overcome. You have to stubbornly and honestly do your work, despite “All is lost” cries from motivated enemies and “I know better how to” from interested friends. Then suddenly there is an event — the Eurovision Song Contest, which not just shortens — it literally squeezes everything that happens, including dates. Meanwhile, conditions in the country have not been significantly changed.
And just as suddenly you realize: not only the psychological responsibility has doubled. Now a criminal liability has been added. Weighing tens of millions of euros. Legal and transparent procedures for spending budget millions? Non-existent in our country. In our country one can administrate (not a very tidy verb to use, is it?) with impunity even billions. Only if you belong to the authorities or are close to it. Negotiate — and everything will be as it should: you will both do the work and make sure you don’t lose out on anything.
But otherwise… You will be punished for everything.
I have never avoided responsibility. I am ready to report on and hold responsibility for each step in the development of the Public Service Broadcaster, every penny spent on this unprecedented for the country (and therefore slow) way.
But «Bolivar cannot carry double». And to pay with freedom, to pay for something which is not a crime, but a good cause — that is beyond good and evil. And definitely beyond my understanding of responsibility. All this is about the budget of Eurovision, which the current laws and codes (Tax Code and Budget Code) do not allow to use. Only it’s not the whole problem with the budget. The government (through the Ministry of Finance) have included the Eurovision into the annual 2017 budget of the National Public Broadcasting Company.
Thus, out of €42,8 m prescribed by the law for the development of the Public Broadcaster in 2017, the government takes away €16 m for the Eurovision costs, €8,9 m as payment for transmission, €5,3 m by taxing and the city takes €1,6 m through utility bills. Another €4 m a priori goes for international activities (Olympic Games, world championships, etc.).
What remains is €7 m. Authorities, are you serious? Is that for the reconstruction of 32 outdated, obsolete and outmoded companies? It means zero for production and an average salary of €81 from that remaining amount. Shall we tell the country and the whole world that we are building Public Service Broadcasting after that? A lot of things have been done at NTU for the last two and a half years. At least, the company has been consolidated, the foundation for Public Service Broadcasting has been laid and the programme course has been set. The country has been shown that 1) neither the authorities nor the oligarchs could (!) be allowed to get near the public broadcaster within firing range of a gun . 2) ukrainian television and radio (mass media) can (!) be not poisonous to humans. The organizational reconstruction and the search for balance between commercial practicability and public needs will continue. Just like Public Service Broadcasting will continue after the Eurovision.
But I’m resigning now. Perhaps in this way I might be able to attract attention to the problems with the budget of Eurovision and the future Public Service Broadcaster’s budget. This act is not blackmail of the authorities, it is rather an assumption that the transition period in the company must be overseen by a person who is more open to compromise, flexible, capable to deal, negotiating conflicting interests and interested parties. However, we do not give up work, the next two weeks will be spent handing over the business to the newly-appointed chief. Yes, unfortunately, the new chief will not be elected by the Supervisory Board, but still appointed by the state.
I am enormously grateful to everyone who walked side by side, with whom I worked together and who took punches and honestly did their job. I thank my colleagues who despite everything do not give us a head start and carefully monitor and treat us so critically as if the yet-state-owned company played with commercial companies on equal terms. I also thank our viewers and listeners for not only expecting changes but also supporting them by not leaving us disregarded. Everything will be fine.