Leading mass media in the majority of the world countries continue to criticize Volodymyr Zelensky for closure of three opposition 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK TV channels. Such broadsheets as Reuters, Associated Press, Washington Post and others are outraged by unfair restriction of freedom of speech in Ukraine.
Thus, American Barron’s released by Dow Jones & Company published the article with statement that banned TV channels stood against political repressions toward undesirable mass media.
“The situation in the country will not improve if Zelensky shutters "undesirable" channels, they said in a joint statement. Medvedchuk told reporters that the ban was illegal. He said that "according to the Ukrainian law sanctions cannot be applied to Ukrainian citizens and companies,” the media stated adding 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.
Cuban media Prensa Latina founded in 1959 published the material dedicated to the initiative of the Opposition Platform – For Life to announce impeachment to current president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.
“The Opposition Platform – For Life will start in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine the process of impeachment of President of the country Volodymyr Zelensky, co-chair of the party Vadym Rabinovych stated. The urge to prosecution of the leader is tied with the sanction imposed against 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK TV channels. Head of the state (Zelensky) wrote in Twitter that the sanctions are difficult decision but he estimated the banned TV channels as propaganda mass media,” the agency said.
Prensa Latina noted that Chairman of Political Council of Opposition Platform-For Life Viktor Medvedchuk stated that Zelensky wants to clear the information field and stop the reduction of popularity.
“We will hold extra party meetings and initiate the provision of the constitutional accusation to Zelensky who made fun of voters and country,” Vadym Rabinovych said.
The agency also reported that during the last elections in 2019, the Opposition Platform – For Life got the second place after the ruling Servant of the People party.
However, according to Kyiv International Institute of Sociology Zelensky is trusted by 35.6% and the ruling party went down on the second place (11.9%) after Medvedchuk’s force (15.7%)”.
Thus, Reuters reported that “the presidential law published lately on Tuesday evening (February 2) states that special economic and other restrictive measures would be applied toward Taras Kozak, MP from the Opposition Party – For Life and eight mass media and TV companies. The motives for such a decision were not mentioned in the order’.
Popular Spanish mass media – Europa Press stated that the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) also condemned the decision of Zelensky that was characterized by ‘an extra-judicial and politically motivated ban and a blatant attack on press freedom. The federation urged the Ukrainian authorities ‘to urgently reverse it’ and ‘respect freedom of information and speech’. IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger added that closure is spontaneous ‘is unacceptable in a democracy’. He also stated that it puts at risk the job of hundreds of media workers that have nothing to do with their media owners’ political affiliations.
International French Radio in its material dedicated to the closure of Ukrainian TV channels noted the next: “the popularity of the president stays at the record low level and if soon new parliamentary elections take place, the opposition party will get the first place. Zelensky used the oligarch chain to become the head of the state but now, he, in his turn, tries to protect himself from the counter force of these propaganda networks’.
French Wikipedia, referring to the mentioned material, added the article about Zelensky: “This step (closure of TV channels) was taken on the order of the administration of new U.S. President Joe Biden amid growing intensions to vote for pro-Russian candidates”.
The information about closure of Ukrainian TV channels was published by Italian state AHCA agency in English and Italian. Leading Spanish newspaper – La Vanguardia published a material of EFE that states the next:
“Medvedchuk stated as a response to the sanctions that Zelensky wants to clear the information field and stop the reduction of popularity and accused the president in the unwillingness to respond to unsolved problems such as conflict in the east of Ukraine with pro-Russian rebels, growth of prices for gas, absence of vaccines against Covid-19 and restriction of the Russian language. Zelensky came to power in 2019 after the victory at the elections gaining over 73% and his party, Servant of the People, surpassed 43% at the parliamentary elections, being the first force. Currently, according to Kyiv International Institute of Sociology held on last Tuesday, Zelensky is trusted by 35.6% and the ruling party went down on the second place (11.9%) after Medvedchuk’s force (15.7%)”. This information was also published by El Diario and regional media of Andalusia and Galicia.
Associated Press agency published material about blocking of three Ukrainian TV channels with opinions of the conflict’s sides.
Financial Times published an article that called the decision of Zelensky controversial: measures assumed against TV channels are the last out of the number controversial steps that, according to the administration of Zelensky’ aim for counteraction inner and external threats to the national security.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty stated: “The European Union has questioned a move by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to sanction three television stations nominally owned by a member of a pro-Russian faction. 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.
On February 2, Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on sanctions against 112 Ukraine, NewsONE and ZiK TV channels. By this decree, he enforced the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on sanctions on the cancellation of the broadcasting licenses of the TV channels belonging to Taras Kozak (112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK). According to the decree that is eligible since the moment of signature, the TV channels faced sanctions that will be active for five years. These sanctions make the broadcasting impossible.
After the blocking, it is possible to watch TV channels on YouTube: