Experts: Legal regulation of outdoor advertisement is a typical example of misbalance and inconsistent national legislation


There are two alternative bills aimed at regulating outdoor advertisement, next to the issue of inconsistent functions of local authorities. Chaotic placement of ads should be eliminated. To create an efficient law, government should involve numerous parties. Experts argued regarding the regulator of the outdoor advertisement and ways to improve the current mechanisms.

Kyiv, April 15, 2016. Standards regulating the issues of outdoor advertising are contained in various laws and legislative acts. It is necessary to create a specific operating procedure in order to develop an efficient mechanism. This issue requires complex regulation, otherwise causing non-transparency of procedures and complicating entrepreneurs’ work, informed Andriy Savarets, expert of the USAID Program “Leadership in economic governance” (LEO) at round table discussion at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. According to him, there are two alternative bills aimed at solving this issue.

“Legal regulation of outdoor advertisement is a typical example of misbalance and inconsistent national legislation,” said Yaroslav Hlibishchuk, expert of the USAID Program “Leadership in economic governance” (LEO). According to him, technological difficulties in this sphere lies in four zones of outdoor advertisement placement envisaging certain peculiarities in receiving permits relating to inhabited localities, territories beyond their limits along motor roads and monuments of local or national significance. It complicates the situation even more, said Hlibishchuk. According to him, another problem is inconsistent functions of local authorities and local self-governing bodies.

Liubomyr Chorniy, senior expert at USAID Program “Leadership in economic governance”, presented the concept of change to the legislation of Ukraine. It should result in creation of favorable legal conditions for liquidation and elimination of corruption in the sphere of outdoor advertisement placement; quality and accessibility of outdoor advertisement services for entrepreneurs; creation of mechanisms of customers’ rights protection in the sphere of outdoor advertisement and improvement of legal and economic environment for development of competitive market of outdoor advertisement services.

According to Chorniy, it would be feasible to introduce full-scale procedure of planning of outdoor advertisement objects placement, which means “it must not happen chaotically like it is happening now”. At the same time, function of issuing permits for advertisement placement must be transferred to local level, together with introduction of clear procedure of demolishing illegal advertisement constructions, said the USAID senior expert. “The idea lies in thorough support of the process of new regulations introduction – from the level of laws and bylaws to their practical implementation, development of typical documents to be used on local level and monitoring their use and response to these results in practice,” said Chorniy, summarizing the concept.

The regulatory base of outdoor advertisement is an obstacle for entrepreneurs that must be modified, said Oleksandr Pliva from the all-Ukrainian coalition of small and medium businesses “Fortetsya” (“The Fortress”), Reanimation Package of Reforms – Kyiv group. At the same time, its reformation must be approached by sectors. “There are totally different segments of advertisement, so uniting them under single law and procedure will result in numerous problems,” emphasized the expert. Pliva explained it is important to involve maximum number of parties.

Mykola Bulavynets from Ivano-Frankivsk Coalition of Small and Medium Businesses said that they adopted their own provisions in their town, adopting them to local problems. He believes that solving this issue in terms of the present concept, when the law will envisage all the ground for issuing permits and refusals, will support unification and departing from requirements. It may become a reason for taking legal action and declaring local acts illegal, said Bulavynets.

Oleksandr Pechalin, Vinnytsia Coalition of Small and Medium Businesses
listed typical problems of the industry. These are unclear fixation of submitting an application, absence of officials’ responsibility regarding deadlines for issuing permits, high cost of outdoor advertisement and absence of clear procedure of billboards demolition.

Olena Khestanova, Head of Inter-sectoral Projects Subdivisions for the Department of Economic Policy at Lviv City Counicl, said that absence of schemes for outdoor advertisement placement is the main problem. According to her, every city must approve its own schemes, which must be spelled out in legislation. One law cannot envisage each and every aspect. “Establishing the philosophy of identifying places for possible placement of outdoor advertisement must be the cities’ exclusive right. […]  Any city has its peculiarities and history,” explained Khestanova. Moreover, Lviv City Council representative disagreed with declarative principle of advertisement approval, namely the one on private property, buildings and land lots. “Trust me, it’s a ticking time bomb,” said Khestanova. She explained that many historic buildings are transferred to private property and advertisement appearing there will distort view of the city. There is still no culture of making and placing advertisement in our country. Moreover, Khestanova believes outdoor advertisement must be proportioned, for “the uncontrollable amount of advertisement poisons a city”.

Valeriy Prokopets, Deputy Director of the Department for Development of Entrepreneurship and Regulatory Policy, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine believes that declarative principle in advertising shall be applied very carefully. Moreover, he suggests including in the bill notion of “community space”, which would take inhabitants’ interests into account, not only help businesses.

Anna Bondar, deputy head of the Department of Urban Development of Architecture at Kyiv City Administration said the situation with outdoor advertisement in Kyiv is difficult. On one hand, there is an imperfect permits procedure, on the other – serious pressure from the community that wants to decrease the amount of outdoor advertisement. The city authorities are looking for certain compromise and managed to make some progress. According to Bondar, as of today there are projects for the procedure of issuing permits, a draft procedure of information signs placement, draft guidelines for street design etc. The permits issuing procedure is being computerized through the city developments cadastre. Moreover, the possibility of holding competitions for outdoor advertisement placement in future is being considered. Bondar believes advertisement placement on the objects of cultural heritage must be prohibited. “We hope in 3-5 years we will be able to reduce the number of advertising vehicles within the legal field, not killing the market at the same time,” said the representative of Kyiv City Administration.