Ukrainian President Zelensky, by decree, banned a number of media that are used as the voice of the opposition. According to Zelensky, they represent a threat to national security and constitute an “instrument in the war against Ukraine”.
The authorities say there is evidence that the media are directly funded by Russia. Zelensky writes in a tweet that it was a difficult decision and that Ukraine respects freedom of expression, but not “propaganda funded by the aggressor”.
Temporary licenses have been revoked and the ZIk, NewSOne and 112 websites have been taken offline or blocked. The media mainly played the sound of the pro-Russian Opposition platform. Thats the countrys second party, but according to recent polls, it could become a threat to Zelenskys party Servant of the People.
With the intervention, Zelensky follows an opinion from the National Security Council.
The Ukrainian Association of Journalists has reacted critically and speaks of an attack on freedom of expression. The Opposition Platform has announced that it will lead through parliament to the resignation of Zelensky, but the party now has only 44 seats, where 226 are required for such an attempt to succeed.
Part of the media now blocked is in the hands of Taras Kozak, a parliamentarian with close links to Viktor Medvedchuk. Medvedchuk, also a politician, is seen as an ally of Russian President Putin. According to Medvedchuk, Zelensky “remembers millions of people the right to objective information” and put 1500 journalists on the street.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia are bad since the Russians annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the war that broke out in that year. It is estimated that it has cost the lives of some 14,000 people.
Correspondent David Jan Godfroid says that the ban should be seen in the light of events that occurred before, after 2004, when the incumbent pro-Russian President Yanukovych was expelled after prolonged street protests by hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who were outraged by the fraud that made him come to power.
“ Six years after that so-called Orange Revolution, Yanukovych returned to the Presidential Palace, not least because of support from Russia,” explains Godfroid. “In 2014, the Maidan revolution led to Yanukovychs second forced departure. But now it turns out that this upheaval has not led to major improvements for most of the Ukrainian population, Zelenskys popularity is declining. The Opposition Platform is gaining popularity step by step and that is choirs on the mill of the media that are now banned. Many Ukrainians are afraid that pro-Russian forces are so gradually crawling back to power and that the post-2004 scenario will repeat itself.”