Tuesday, July 16, 2024
 
 

Zelensky bans three pro-Russian TV channels

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has banned three pro-Russian television channels, labelling them as a Kremlin “propaganda tool.”

The Presidency said that the TV channels were linked to a politician close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, namely Taras Kozak, and that they pose a threat to national security. The channels will be suspended for five years, as they have continued to receive funding from Russia. 

“Sanctions are a difficult decision. Ukraine strongly supports Freedom Of Speech. Not propaganda financed by the aggressor country that undermines Ukraine on its way to EU and Euro-Atlantic integration,” Zelensky wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday. 

“The fight for independence is a fight in the information war for truth & European values,” the Ukrainian president added. 

“These media have become one of the tools in the war against Ukraine, so they are blocked in order to protect national security,” Zelensky’s spokesperson, Yulia Mendel wrote in a Facebook post. 

The ban came into effect early on Wednesday after Zelensky issued a decree imposing sanctions against Kozak and eight of his companies, including the three TV channels.

In a written statement on February 3, the spokesperson for the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, said, however, that “while Ukraine’s efforts to protect its territorial integrity and national security, as well as to defend itself from information manipulation are legitimate, in particular given the scale of disinformation campaigns affecting Ukraine including from abroad, this should not come at the expense of freedom of media and must be done in full respect of fundamental rights and freedoms and following international standards.”

Ukrainian media claim that the television channels 112, NewsOne, and ZIK are actually owned by Viktor Medvedchuk, the head of the pro-Russian Opposition Platform — For Life party’s political council and one of the richest and most influential individuals in the country. Medvedchuk is a close personal friend of Putin. The Russian president is the godfather to Medvedchuk’s 26-year-old daughter, Darina.

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