At a Journalists Day press conference, Victor Yushchenko has said he wanted to start an international media forum, according to the President’s press-office. It will be annually held on November 22, Freedom Day, to discuss Ukraine’s role on the international media market.

When speaking about media priorities of his government, the Chief of State said: “Our government believes the essence of our activity is modern and ‘capacious’ information policies and freedom of the press.”

Then he outlined a program to resolve the most pressing problems in the area. Mr. Yushchenko it was important to pass several laws to make journalists truly independent and ensure better protection of their rights. He also insisted it was vital to introduce so-called editorial statutes.

The President said the current situation was still unacceptable. “I think each journalists can agree with me,” he added.

“I believe journalists should more actively demand that media owners should sign editorial statutes with them,” he said.

Mr. Yushchenko characterized the media market in Ukraine as “vulnerable.”

“[…] The State Television and Radio Committee (STRC) is particularly responsible for its failure to formulate information policies,” he said. “We do not have public television. There are very few private media. These issues are still unsettled because there is no effective management center. Last year, we spoke about relevant programs [to develop the media market], as well as a national concept, but nothing has been done yet,” he bitterly admitted.

The President said STRC functioned “ineffectively and unsatisfactorily.” He reminded those present he had earlier asked the Verkhovna Rada to dismiss STRC Head Ivan Chyzh. He hopes the newly elected parliament will vote for his dismissal and then politically evaluate the committee’s performance.

The Head of State also promised to renew the Presidential Council for Information Policy and also appoint new members of public councils at the National Television Company of Ukraine and the National Radio Company of Ukraine.

Mr. Yushchenko then said public television must become “the tool of mass communication unaffected and uninfluenced by government.” He also said it was important to develop digital television and Internet technologies in Ukraine.