Zelensky and Media

While America and Europe brag that they are fighting Russia to keep Freedom and Democracy in Ukraine, its president Volodymyr Zelensky continued his unprecedented crackdown on press freedoms in Ukraine after signing a new law that expands his loyalists’ reach into what news outlets can publish in the country.  

TRENDPOST: The censorship is not surprising. Kyiv does not want the world to know about losses during the war, its neo-Nazi Bandera fighters, and the extent of the nation’s corruption… which the EU reports is the most corrupt country in Europe. Indeed, according to Ukrainian media propaganda, Ukraine is winning the war, despite having lost 20 percent of the country to Russia and over 50 percent of its energy and water infrastructure having been destroyed. This is not only “news” in Ukraine, it is not “newsworthy” in Western media.

The 279-page legislation covers much of what is allowed to be published online and in print. The Ukrainian news media reported that an early draft of the bill gave the government the ability to fine news outlets and revoke licenses. The legislation, which was toned down after international condemnation, blocks certain news outlets from publishing content without a court order.

Under the new guidelines, the country’s National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council, which is appointed by Zelensky, will play a greater role in the news media. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine said in a statement last month that the bill was a clear threat to the freedom of the press in the country.

TRENDPOST: It is worth noting that Zelensky first introduced the bill in 2019, just a year after he was elected president.

In March, just weeks after the Russian invasion, Zelensky moved to combine all national TV channels to ostensibly crack down on so-called ‘misinformation.’ (See “U.S. REWARDS ZELENSKY WITH $4.5 BILLION OF U.S. TAXPAYER DOLLARS AFTER GETTING CAUGHT IN LIE TO START WWIII,” and “ZELENSKY ADMITS TO ‘EIGHT YEARS OF WAR’ IN DONBAS—BUT IGNORED BY PRESSTITUTES AND POLITICIANS” 2 August 2022.) 

He said the move was intended to combine all national TV channels into a “single information platform of strategic communication.” The move meant that all privately owned outlets would end their broadcasts. Deadline noted that Zelensky justified the decision by saying it was essential to combat Russian misinformation and to “tell the truth about the war.”

The Ukraine War was the first major conflict that played out in the age of social media and 24-hour cable television, and both Russia and Ukraine understand the value of controlling the narrative. 

Putin, who has been intent on getting his country prepared to face a long conflict, told his Ministry of Culture to get movie theaters across the country to show “patriotic” documentaries about the conflict in Ukraine and the Kremlin’s “struggle against the spread of Neo-Nazi and Neo-fascist ideologies.”

Zelensky Faces Backlash

The Ukrainian president’s move to crack down on his country’s media raised concerns that he was consolidating his power and using the war to strip the public of its freedoms. 

Ricardo Gutierrez, the general secretary of the European Federation of Journalists, told The New York Times that the law stood in direct contradiction to journalistic standards in Europe. He said it is incumbent on Ukraine to “demonstrate its European commitment by promoting a free and independent media, not by establishing state control of information.” 

The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine also issued a biting statement, saying that such powers are “clearly excessive.” 

Zelensky signed the law on 29 December. One of the main attributes of the law is that the media regulator will likely be controlled by the “incumbent authorities because its members are appointed by Zelensky and the Ukrainian parliament, where his party has an absolute majority.”

“No one has yet managed to tame freedom of speech in Ukraine. It won’t work this time either,” the statement read.

TRENDPOST: The Western media continues to do their governments’ bidding and essentially refuses to cover Zelensky and Kyiv fairly. The goal is clear. These outlets want Zelensky to rise to the level of sainthood so the public supports the billions in tax dollars flowing into the country.

Shortly after Zelensky was elected president, he moved to ban TV stations that he considered to be pro-Kremlin, including 112, NewsOne, and Zik. He called these stations outlets for “hybrid propaganda.” About 40.8 percent of Ukrainians polled at the time called Zelensky’s move a mistake.

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