Tags: volodymyr zelenskyy | war | censorship | ukraine | media | journalists

Zelenskyy Signs Law Controversial Law to Regulate Media

By    |   Monday, 02 January 2023 10:37 PM EST

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday signed a controversial law expanding his government's authority to regulate media and journalists, The New York Times reported.

"Censorship of the media is not new in Ukraine," Thierry Mariani, a French member of the European Parliament, told Sputnik. "The best way to apply the regime's nationalistic policies is to control the press, just like in the good old days of the Soviet Union. Mr. Zelenskyy knows it and is deepening censorship, with some opposition in the Rada [the Ukrainian parliament] though."

Under the new law, which spans 279 pages, the president and the Ukrainian members of Parliament will appoint members to a National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council. Under the council members will be granted broad authority over Ukrainian journalists and media organizations. Among such powers offered to the council, according to the Kyiv Independent, would also include the ability to shut down news sites.

Last month, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine delivered a statement explaining the bill posed a "threat" to press freedom.

"Such powers are clearly excessive," the organization wrote. "No one has yet managed to tame freedom of speech in Ukraine. It won't work this time either."

In the past, Zelenskyy's administration was accused of suppressing press freedom. In his first year in office, 2019, Zelenskyy ordered the drafting of a new law to increase media regulation.

"Zelenskyy is every day on television to deliver his truth, and his propaganda is passed on as truth by all the subsidized Western media: no conditional to the figures and announcements of Zelenskyy," Mariani said. "It is the new Gospel. Like Jesus, Zelenskyy transforms water in wine. It is open bar for him and his government in the West. Very few are the journalists who dare contradict the oracle."

Purportedly, the media regulating law was passed, along with a spate of other bills to help Ukraine meet the European Union's legislative conditions for membership. But according to the EU, it is unclear that "by adopting a media law that aligns Ukraine's legislation with the EU audio-visual media services directive" means ostensible censorship.

On Friday, Ricardo Gutiérrez, the European Federation of Journalists general secretary, said the previous draft of the law was "worthy of the worst authoritarian regimes."

Gutiérrez then told The Times that the bill conflicted with the standards of European press freedom because the independence of the state media regulator, who Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian Parliament appoint, could not be guaranteed.

"Ukraine, Gutiérrez says, "will demonstrate its European commitment by promoting a free and independent media, not by establishing state control of information."

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday signed a controversial law expanding his government's authority to regulate media and journalists, The New York Times reported.
volodymyr zelenskyy, war, censorship, ukraine, media, journalists
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2023-37-02
Monday, 02 January 2023 10:37 PM
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