The closure of three opposition TV channels 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZiK by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky caused a huge resonance around the world, even such credible agencies as Reuters, Associated Press, Washington Post, and others wrote about it. Thousands of the world's largest media outlets have reacted negatively to this decision and say that such a step by the head of state is clearly an attack on freedom of speech in the country.
Reuters reported that "A presidential decree, published late on Tuesday (Feb. 2), said “special economic and other restrictive measures” would be imposed against Taras Kozak, a lawmaker from the Opposition Bloc faction, and eight media and TV companies. The decree gave no reasons for the decision."
Another popular Spanish agency Europapress noted the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) also condemned Zelensky's decision, which it described as an "extrajudicial and politically motivated ban" and a "blatant attack on freedom of press." It called on the Ukrainian authorities to "immediately lift the ban" and "respect the right to freedom of information and expression." IFJ Secretary-General Anthony Bellanger added that the closure was "arbitrary," stressing that the action was "unacceptable in a democracy". "The ban puts at risk the job of hundreds of media workers that have nothing to do with their media owners."
Relevant news was published by the largest Internet portal Yahoo, and the leading national media of many countries of the world - Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, etc.
The American weekly Barron's released by Dow Jones & Company, published a material with reference to the French agency AFP, which states that "Former comedian Zelensky came to power in 2019 on promises to end the war in the east of Ukraine. But his failure to swiftly fulfil that commitment among others has seen his and his ruling party's approval ratings plummet in recent months." The agency connects the closure of three TV channels with political repressions against undesirable media.
In its article on the closure of Ukrainian TV channels, Radio France Internationale said: "... the president's popularity is at a record low, and if new parliamentary elections are held soon, the opposition party will come out on top. Zelensky himself used the oligarchic chain to to become head of state, but now he, in turn, is trying to protect himself from the opposing force of these propaganda networks. "
Citing the above-mentioned material, French Wikipedia added the article on Zelensky with a paragraph stating that "this step (closing the channels, - ed.) was taken on the instructions of the administration of the new US President Joe Biden against the background of growing intentions to vote for pro-Russian candidates."
The article on the closure of Ukrainian TV channels was published by the Italian State Agency ANSA in English and Italian. Leading Spanish newspaper - Barcelona's La Vanguardia publishes material from the state news agency EFE, which states the following:
Medvedchuk said in response to the sanctions that Zelensky intended to "clear the information field" and thus halt the decline in popularity, and accused the president of unwillingness to respond to unresolved issues such as the conflict in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russian insurgents, rising prices for gas, shortage of vaccines against Covid or restrictions on the use of the Russian language. Zelensky came to power in 2019 after winning the election, gaining more than 73% of the vote, and his party, the Servant of the People, gained over 43% in the parliamentary elections being the first force. Now, according to a poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) last Tuesday, Zelensky is trusted by only 35.6% of respondents, and the ruling party has dropped to second place (11.9%) after Medvedchuk's party (15.7%). The same material was shared by Spanish metropolitan agency El Diario, and regional agencies from Andalusia and Galicia.
The same material was rewritten by El Diario, Vozpópuli, Radio Popular S.A. COPE, in Mexico - by one of the oldest newspapers Excélsior (Mexico City) and in Argentina – by the famous information website Infobae, and the leading newspaper Clarin.
The Associated Press published a report on the blocking of three Ukrainian TV channels, in which it indicated the views of various parties to the conflict.
This material was also written by the leading U.S. media The Washington Post, FoxNews, АВС website, U.S. News & World Report, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Internel portal Yahoo, Star Tribune - the most widely circulated newspaper in the U.S. state of Minnesota.
The Financial Times published an article calling Zelensky's decision contradictory: "The measures taken against the channels are the latest in a series of controversial steps that Zelensky's administration says are aimed at countering external and internal threats to national security."
In an article of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty it is said that: "EU questions Ukrainian President's sanctions on TV stations. In a written statement on February 3, the spokesperson of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, said 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." The statement added that "any measures taken should be proportional to the aim" and that Brussels would be in touch with Ukrainian authorities to receive more information on the issue.
Here is just a small list of media outlets that have published critical material about Zelensky's closure of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK: