Zelensky’s Party Prepares to Cleanse the Information Space

Ukraine’s new authorities apparently decided to maintain their rule forever. Otherwise, why have they started their activities with a total cleansing of Ukraine’s information space? Both through the harsh punishment of unwelcome media and through the change of legislation.

And it’s planned to do this under the pretext of war. Here the representatives of the new team are no different from Poroshenko ‘s regime.

“Servants of the People” monopolise power over the media

It should be said that in the team of Zelensky there are supporters of different foreign policy orientations, but the agenda towards the media is voiced by an extreme Russophobe, the adviser to Zelensky and newly elected member of parliament Nikita Poturayev. He announced in several interviews a large-scale change in the legislation regulating the activities of the media of Ukraine, primarily audiovisual.

In particular, it is proposed to give the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting the opportunity to directly close TV channels not through the courts, as is stipulated by the current laws.

“For effective counteraction it is necessary to have the right to block a communication channel – TV or radio program. The provider must disable prohibited content within 24 hours. The next step – the media should have the right to appeal the decision of the National Council in court on the same day,” said Poturayev.

Recall that the appearance in Ukrainian legislation of the provision that the National Broadcasting Council can disable broadcasting channels only through the courts was considered to be a great conquest of freedom of speech in Ukraine. It was introduced into the Law “On Television and Radio Broadcasting” as early as the 1990’s, then was duplicated in the Law on the National Council. And it was presented both in Ukraine and in the West as a key step towards the creation of independent media, since earlier there were frequent cases when the authorities excluded the TV or radio channels of their opponents from the airwaves. And even after the coup d’état of 2014, at the time of Poroshenko’s terror towards the opposition media, this situation remained intact. And now the new people who came to power as a result of criticising Poroshenko’s rule decided to seize the right to close the TV and radio companies they do not want! After all, an appeal through the court is a long procedure, which does not exclude that after the restoration of the media’s right to broadcast, the authorities can ban it again the next day. And so until complete destruction. Especially now that Zelensky’s team has almost complete control over the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting.

Currently this structure is formed by the President and Parliament, i.e., Zelensky and “Servant of the People”. There is a proposal for the participation of the government in this matter, but it also comes from “Servant of the People”! Nikita Poturayev generally believes that the National Council should be formed by the Prime Minister, which further shortens the leash for the “chain dogs of democracy.”

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In addition, the authorities plan to merge the management of the press into one body, giving it the functions of a regulator and a supervisor at the same time, and putting it under the control of the executive branch. By the way, the National Council was created at the time just to solve the opposite task.

Poturayev also said that the National Media Council (the draft name of the new structure) will manage not only audiovisual, but also printed media.

Moreover, the new body should control, as is envisioned by its creators, the Internet too. It not only will be engaged in the registration of new websites, but also in the closure of objectionable ones. “Concerning blocking websites – I consider that all of this should pass to the regulator. If the regulator recognises content as illegal, aimed at subverting the constitutional system and posing a threat to territorial integrity, then, of course, they (the websites) should be blocked,” said Poturayev.

Thus, the new authorities are going to create a media-controlling monster that hasn’t had any analogs in Ukraine for all its years of independence, including Yanukovych’s “dictatorship”.

“When we will have one regulator, then there will be a sole state policy. We should clearly understand what for us is acceptable in terms of our national interests, security, and defence, and what is not. In the conditions of war – this is a priority,” said Poturayev, justifying control over the media being concentrated in one hand by referring to war, via which everything can be written off.

We will reshape the constitution!

In order to implement the planned transformation, it is necessary to change the Constitution of Ukraine, which Poturayev admits. But it is clear from his words that the new government plans to significantly change the basic law of the country. “The regulator should be a constitutional body. Changes to the Constitution are a means of solving a problem. People expect us to restrict parliamentary immunity. Therefore, we will make changes to the Constitution quickly. We will try to do everything immediately,” he said. If this happens, these changes will be the largest since the adoption of the Constitution of Ukraine in 1996.

But the country’s Constitution by definition cannot be a document of short-term interests. It turns out that Poturayev and his supporters want to turn Ukraine into an arena of eternal war? Justified by military necessity, they are going to change the Constitution – a document establishing the forms of existence of the country for many years. Or on the contrary – representatives of the new government, nodding towards war, wants to cleanse the information space and establish their power for many years?

It is now clear why Zelensky’s team decided to bleed the free speech parliamentary committee. The fact is that according to the tradition of parliamentary democracies, this committee is given to the opposition. Therefore, “Servants of the People” deprived it of its main functions in order to give it to the opposition in a circumcised form (it is now headed by Nestor Shufrich). And they decided to leave real control over the media for themselves, in the Humanitarian Policy Committee, which now manages the information policy.

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The fight against objectionable media continues even now

Nikita Poturayev does not hide that for him the priority is to fight against those TV and radio companies that advocate the normalisation of relations with Russia. It turns out that after the creation of the monster regulating the activities of the media, the new authorities will have no problems, for example, with closing the “NewsOne” channel.

Currently they are trying to close this channel, but using the currently existing legislative base.

Recently, the media reported that the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council, after an unscheduled inspection of the TV channel “NewsOne”, plans to appeal to the court to revoke its license. This is arbitrariness and an attack on freedom of speech, but the TV channel cannot be closed immediately, and its lawyers have time to represent the interests of “NewsOne” in court, and if the case fails it is possible to appeal and file a cassation complaint. And all this time the channel will still be broadcasting. In this example one can see how the new government is preparing to infringe on the opposition media, wishing to close the mouth to objectionable media without a court decision.

Concerning the “NewsOne” channel, there is the desire to deprive it of its license allegedly for “inciting ethnic strife”. By this, the National Council implies defending the rights of Russian-speaking citizens, calling for the normalisation of relations with Russia, criticising Banderism, and programs about special status for Donbass.

Former people’s deputy Sergey Vysotsky in general called to undermine the “NewsOne” and “112” TV channels. “These channels that we are talking about, which work against Ukraine for the enemy, all the journalists that work there – they are combatants of the Russian Federation. And all that can be done is to fire an anti-tank missile at them, i.e., close them,” said Sergey Vysotsky live on the “Pryamoy” TV channel owned by Poroshenko. But neither the National Council nor the Armed Forces react to such extremist calls.

It should be said that not only TV channels, but also print media are persecuted. On August 19th the District Administrative Court of Kiev satisfied the appeal of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine and the Security Service and ordered the termination of the publication “Worker’s Newspaper”, which is in strong opposition to the post-Maiden Kiev regime, promotes the normalisation of relations with Russia, and does not accept Banderism. Although the lawyers of this media appealed, it is indicative that the harsh punishment of the newspaper at the time of Poroshenko’s reign continues under the new president.

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Help will come from abroad

It may be surprising that the new government started work in the humanitarian sphere not with the development of ideology, but with an attempt to crush the information space. The fact is that Zelensky before the presidential and parliamentary elections carefully avoided to give clear and precise answers to questions about ideology, so as not to lose the electorate. “Servants of the People” for the first time hide behind libertarianism.

Ukrainian nationalists in the United States decided to help develop the ideology of Zelensky.

The newspaper published by Ukrainian nationalists in the United States “Svoboda” published an article written by the chief ideologist of overseas Ukrainian nationalists Askold Lozynsky, in which he gives instructions to the new president.

“Apparently, it will not be without a criminal investigation into the actions of the previous authorities,” writes Lozynsky. “This is not contrary to democratic principles and in no case should be considered a political massacre against political competitors. The development of national spirituality, I think, will not be a priority of the new government. But I am convinced that if Ukraine speaks Ukrainian, it will strengthen it politically… At the same time, I wish Vladimir Zelensky and Dmitry Razumkov personally to improve the Ukrainian language, which can be achieved only by its daily constant use. The government should ensure that there are no governmental or public speeches of state persons in a non-state language. The new canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) should actively work in the sphere of the religious national strengthening of society. The main enemy is the Moscow Patriarchate. The state should give the St. Sophia’s Cathedral to the OCU with all its adjacent territories, as it undoubtedly belongs to the Kiev Metropolitan since princely times, and after it is necessary to return the Pechersky and Pochayev Lavras and other historical temples and monasteries even through the courts. This should also be assisted by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which should also come to the local church and patriarchate.”

As we can see, the guidance is written in a friendly tone towards Zelensky. Although in fact they are false, ranging from the alleged canonicity of the OCU, to the fact that this pseudo-church is the successor to the ancient Kiev Metropolitan. It should also be added that Lozynsky, born in the US and dedicated to serving it all his life, actively preaches Banderism and extreme Russophobia and advises Zelensky to adhere to this ideology.

It turns out that Ukraine is once again being pushed to go along the already passed hopeless path – now led by Zelensky. Such policies will undoubtedly result in new shocks. And this will continue until the people in power in Ukraine realise that getting involved in Ukrainian nationalism is deadly for them in particular, and Ukraine in general.

Sergey Bondarenko

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