Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who has become adulated by left-wing media and international politicians, has just signed off on a controversial media censorship legislation.
The new law “has been criticized by journalist organizations as an attempt to introduce censorship. The authorities have denied the accusation”, according to the Kyiv Independent.
“The law dramatically expands the media regulator’s powers and gives it the authority to shut down news sites that are not officially registered as media without a court ruling”, according to the outlet.
The law represents “the biggest threat to free speech in (Ukraine’s) independent history”, according to Ukraine’s national union of journalists. The bill could “cast the shadow of a dictator” on Zelensky, the union warned.
“According to Ukraine’s Institute of Mass Information, under the law, the media regulator is likely to be controlled by the incumbent authorities because its members are appointed by Zelensky and the Ukrainian parliament, where his party has an absolute majority”, according to the Kyiv independent.
Earlier this month, the Ukrainian government also announced it was drafting a bill to ban churches “affiliated with Russia”, a move that stirred concern regarding religious liberties and civil rights within the country.
These authoritarian moves are not new. In June 2022, Zelensky’s government nationalized TV news and banned the largest opposition party.
Despite these authoritarian moves, Western governments have kept providing billions in taxpayers funds to support Ukraine, with little to no accountability as to the use of the funds.