On February 26, the international organization for the protection of journalists' rights, Reporters Without Borders, published a statement about imposition of sanctions by the National Security and Defense Council against 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK. They called Ukraine's move was called "an escalation of the information war."
The statement also raised concerns about the organization's decision to revoke three pro-Kremlin broadcasting licenses over the next five years. The organization linked the decisions to an abuse of power and called on Ukraine to respect its international obligations.
“We deplore this escalation in the information war,” said Jeanne Cavelier, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “Even if the desire to combat propaganda is legitimate, it does not justify the use of censorship, and banning these TV channels is liable to stir up violence against journalists. This violation of freedom of expression violates Ukraine’s international obligations. We urge the authorities to find other ways to preserve news media independence and pluralism.”
It was also noted that media and journalists are increasingly the victims of partisan conflict and growing polarization in Ukrainian society and that Ukraine is ranked 96th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.
Risk of information war escalation in #Ukraine after sanctions against 3 pro-Kremlin TV channels. @RSF_inter calls on Kiev to respect its international commitments and to find other ways to fight propaganda. https://t.co/yryRdscE4R— RSF in English (@RSF_en) February 26, 2021
On February 2, 2021, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council to impose personal sanctions against Taras Kozak, a member of parliament. It resulted in cancelling of licenses for broadcasting of the TV channels belonging him it (112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK).