Draft law “On amendments to several legislative documents on regulation of outdoor advertisement” (2702-д) offers better regulation and transparent rules of game for outdoor advertisement market, said co-authors of the bill at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
“As of today, Ukraine’s situation with outdoor advertisement has more in common rather with Shanghai than with Europe, because there is a large variety of add types and there is a lot of them in the streets; there are constructions potentially dangerous for historical buildings where they are placed and for the passers-by. Our aim was to create a document, which would make this market more transparent, reduce the number of adds in the streets and bring best practices of European cities to Ukraine. Of course business and the municipal authorities have opposing interests, but they still have one common interest – all of us want our cities to be clean and beautiful, and all of us want this important market to function transparently,” noted Viktoria Siumar, MP (“Narodnyi Front” faction), head of the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy.
The draft law is based on the concept offered by the experts of the USAID Program “Leadership in economic governance”. It was developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy and the Ukrainian Association of Outdoor Advertisement Operators. This process included dozens of discussions with business representatives in the biggest cities.
The draft law offers amendments to 10 laws. “It aligns regulations in all these laws and eliminates existing legislative collisions in the field of urban development, cultural heritage, regulation on highways, administrative services, system of permits for economic activities etc. It is a detailed comprehensive document which outlines unified rules of game for all Ukrainian cities. Meanwhile, it leaves some space for varieties, because every city has its architectural peculiarities and a specific planning. So the city authorities can impose additional requirements on the level of their local regulaitions”, noted Liubomyr Chorniy, senior expert of the USAID Program “Leadership in economic governance”.
The core innovation is a set of more transparent rules of game. “This draft law is aligned with the provisions of law on administrative services, so it prescribes a limiting list of documents necessary to apply for a permit to place an advertisement, a limiting list of requirements for those who want to obtain a permit and a limited set of grounds for refusal to provide the permit or terminate the permit because of violations. It offers more simplified procedure and transparent rules of game which leave no space for manipulation,” noted Maksym Nefyodov, First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine.
According to the draft law, the space for advertisement will be provided through competition. The bill prescribes four types of outdoor advertisement, instead of the existing variety, and the minimum distance between constructions with advertisement. All advertisement shall be in Ukrainian (except brand names). The draft law prescribes basic requirements to schemes for outdoor advertisement placement, which shall be approved by the municipal authorities. Every city will have a unified design for advertising constructions. The draft law also introduces the definition “takedown of an advertising construction” and prescribes the detailed procedure how and what cases it can be done; prescribes unified procedure to collect payments for placing advertisement.
“This is a comprehensive document. I hope in 2 years after coming into effect it will change the face of our cities for the benefit of both people and businesses. Perhaps the experts will criticize the bill for close attention to every detail, but in this case, I think, it was a right decision. If we prescribe the details, the procedure is more transparent and there are smaller corruption risks,” said Oleksandr Opanasenko, MP (“Samopomich” faction), co-author of draft law, member of the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policy.
According to Oksana Polishchuk, head of Ukrainian Association of Outdoor Advertisement Operators, the draft law favors the interests rather of ordinary people and the authorities than those of businesses, but it is still a significant step towards the fair balance of interests. “The main advantage of this bill is that it creates conditions for stability, for transparent and predictable functioning of the market. As business representatives, we have been developing our proposals since long ago, but they wouldn’t get the green light without support of the municipal authorities and the MPs. […] Adoption of this draft law would seriously contributed to more constructive dialogue between the society, businesses and the Government,” she said. Liubomyr Chorniy expressed hope that this positive experience of cooperation between the interested parties will be used to develop regulations for other markets in the future.