Since February – the moment the Ukrainian authorities started illegal persecution in the person of President Volodymyr Zelensky the Сhairman of the Political Council of the Opposition Platform - For Life, Viktor Medvedchuk, his wife Oksana Marchenko, as well as a number of other opposition politicians and independent TV channels (112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZiK), leading world media published 96,873 materials criticizing the actions of the Ukrainian authorities.
The share of positive or neutral publications in total amounts to 80,749 materials, or 83% of the total number of publications. The share of critical materials is 17% (16,079 publications).
In September, the number of positive references in foreign media increased, having been provoked by the new round of activity of the Ukrainian authorities aimed at putting pressure on the opposition and independent media. During this period, inoSMI paid the main attention to three key events:
- the course of trial against the MP and Chairman of the Political Council of the Opposition Platform - For Life Party Viktor Medvedchuk, in the framework of which, on September 2, Pechersk District Court ruled to extend the term of the preventive measure in form of the house arrest for Viktor Medvedchuk for 2 months, until October 31;
- a visit of French Senators to Ukraine in early September. The Senators met with Viktor Medvedchuk, who is under house arrest, and visited the studio of Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel, where they met with journalists of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels illegally closed by President Zelensky;
- a report of the head of the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Matilda Bogner, in which she expressed opinion that the imposition of sanctions by the Ukrainian authorities against TV channels and electronic media does not comply with international standards in the sphere of freedom of expression.
In August, the attention of the world's leading media was primarily focused on the coverage of events around the ongoing pressure of the Ukrainian authorities on the opposition and the suppression of freedom of speech in Ukraine. Particular attention was paid to the announcement of the Prosecutor General’s Office on the completion of the investigation of Viktor Medvedchuk’s case, despite the fact that most of the investigative actions planned by the prosecutors themselves were not carried out in the case, and the terms of the investigation set by the court expire only in mid-November; a new fundamental article by Viktor Medvedchuk dedicated to Independence Day What could Ukraine be like? What should Ukraine be like? and his extensive interviews with Ukrainian and Russian media. In addition, foreign media paid attention to the coverage of the situation around the death of the mayor of Kryvy Rih, a member of the Opposition Platform - For Life, Konstantin Pavlov, as well as the appeal of journalists from the 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK, and Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channels illegally closed by Volodymyr Zelensky to Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel and a rally demanding the protection of freedom of speech in Ukraine, which was attended by hundreds of journalists from these illegally closed TV channels.
It should also be noted that during this period British leading media London Post included the head of the political council of the Opposition Platform - For Life party, MP Viktor Medvedchuk, in the list of TOP-5 politicians who will change the face of Europe and determine the future of the continent in the near future. The list, which, in addition to the leader of the Ukrainian opposition Viktor Medvedchuk, also includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Among the events that will affect the future of the continent, journalists highlighted a new wave of coronavirus, increased migration and the transition of countries to economic and political pragmatism.
In addition, foreign media paid attention to the coverage of the situation around the death of the mayor of Kryvy Rih, a member of the Opposition Platform - For Life, Kostyantyn Pavlov, as well as the appeal of journalists from the 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK and Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channels illegally closed by Volodymyr Zelensky to Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and a rally demanding the protection of freedom of speech in Ukraine, which was attended by hundreds of journalists from these illegally closed TV channels.
In July foreign media paid close attention to the course of the trial against the people's deputy, Chairman of the Political Council of the Opposition Platform - For Life party Viktor Medvedchuk. In addition, a number of authoritative publications devoted their analytical and news materials to an article by Russian President Vladimir Putin On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians and an article by Viktor Medvedchuk On the future of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples. Thus, a number of popular American and British media published the entire article by the leader of the Ukrainian opposition. In the rest of the publications, Viktor Medvedchuk's article received positive responses and was analyzed for quotations.
In addition, the majority of analytical and foreign news media in their materials directly indicated that due to the growing repressive pressure in Ukraine on Viktor Medvedchuk and representatives of the Opposition Platform - For Life party, Russian President Vladimir Putin is very angry with Zelensky and therefore refuses to meet with him in any format. And Zelensky's persecution of Medvedchuk is drawing Ukraine into a dangerous game with Russia. German news agency Deutsche Welle paid special attention to this problem.
In these analytical and news materials, numerous foreign media outlets sharply criticized Zelensky for the closure of television channels, reprisals against the opposition, and corruption. For example, the influential European edition of The Brussels Times sharply criticized the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky for banning the independent TV channels 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK, illegal sanctions against the leader of the opposition - the chairman of the political council of the Opposition Platform - For Life party Viktor Medvedchuk, as well as the failure of the fight against corruption. According to the publication, the official Kyiv is engaged in the substitution of concepts. Instead of fighting corruption, the authorities launched an attack on large and medium-sized businesses. The passage that the court verdicts changed Zelensky's decrees is a reference to the decrees banning 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK TV channels and sanctions against Viktor Medvedchuk.
The world media paid considerable attention in their publications to the peaceful action of the journalists of the TV channels 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZiK, who came to the UN office in Ukraine to express gratitude for the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights “Review of the Situation in the Sphere of Human Rights in Ukraine,” in which the closure of TV channels was declared illegal.
In addition, the media focused on the fact that, most likely, Vladimir Putin's actions in Ukraine are primarily aimed at supporting the opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk, and the current tension between Russia and Ukraine is directly related to the sanctions of Zelensky against Putin's close friend Viktor Medvedchuk. At the same time, the Russian president is annoyed that the Ukrainian authorities are attacking his close friend, Viktor Medvedchuk.
Among other things, these articles also highlighted the issue of the illegality of the Ukrainian authorities and President Zelensky's actions when imposing sanctions against the Ukrainian opposition. And the closure of TV channels was called a direct violation of freedom of speech and press in Ukraine, as a result of which Zelensky achieved the introduction of strict censorship in Ukraine and blocked the population's access to an alternative view of key events in the country. The sanctions were called an instrument of combating the opposition and were associated with Zelensky's desire to resume his rapidly falling ratings. Foreign publications associated these steps with the influence of Washington (the US and European media presented it as Zelensky's desire to find the location of US President Joe Biden). In addition, in recent years, publications have increasingly begun to appear that call the Zelensky regime authoritarianism and dictatorship.
Earlier, the media criticized the handing over of suspicion to Viktor Medvedchuk, as well as the subsequent meeting of the Pechersk District Court, which has chosen a house arrest as a preventive measure. Western media described the actions of the Ukrainian authorities as political repression against the opposition, and also called it part of a broader campaign of suppression of the opposition, launched back in February this year.
The key message of the critical materials has not changed significantly over the past month. The situation was shown one-sided in these materials. Almost all publications in this category wrote about Zelensky’s successful multi-move in the fight against oligarchs and the pro-Russian lobby in Ukraine. The argumentation of the articles was based on unproven accusations by the NSDC. The actions of the Ukrainian authorities to suppress the Ukrainian opposition were called a blow to the pro-Russian forces in Ukraine and directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Almost all publications in this category called Zelensky’s decisions an effective tool in combating Russian aggression and propaganda.