Ukraine’s Zelensky Signs Anti-Free Speech Law, Tightens Control Over Media

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky has officially signed a controversial new law expanding his administration’s control over Ukrainian news media, much to the concern of media unions and press freedom organizations who accuse the Eastern European leader of stifling free speech.

According to a report by the Hill, Zelensky’s new law allows his National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council, made up of his own appointees and those appointed by parliament, to have more control over what Ukrainian news outlets and journalists report on.

With the signing of his new law, Zelensky’s regulatory agency “can effectively shut down news sites that aren’t registered,” alleges The Kyiv Independent.

The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine in a statement last month claimed the controversial law posed a “threat” to press freedom in Ukraine, comparing it to similar laws in “the regime of dictatorial Russia.”

Zelensky and his top advisors
Volodymyr Zelensky and his top advisors record a video outside on February 25, 2022

“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.”

The law comes after Zelensky’s 2019 law, which gave the government regulatory authority over the media in his first year in office.

Zelensky has been battling accusations of authoritarianism, particularly after he criminalized his most popular opposition parties and banned his country’s largest Orthodox church.

BlackRock will be advising Zelensky on “reconstruction” funding for Ukraine, Valiant News reported. Perhaps coincidentally, a senior BlackRock executive currently sits as a top advisor to the US Treasury Department on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

In a press release last Wednesday, Zelensky, who recently appeared in front of Congress to demand even more money for Ukraine, revealed that he had a conference call with Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock.

“In accordance with the preliminary agreements struck earlier this year between the Head of State and Larry Fink, the BlackRock team has been working for several months on a project to advise the Ukrainian government on how to structure the country’s reconstruction funds,” the press release confirmed.

This news and commentary by Andrew White originally appeared on Valiant News.

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