On 3 February 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymir Selensky shut down the opposition TV channels 112, NewsOne and ZIK. Selensky stated that the three channels were" propaganda." With this formulation a partisanship for Russia is assumed.
Even President Selensky appeared in the “Propaganda channel”
As the opposition of Kiev Portal strana.ua reported, the charges of “Propaganda” against the three television channels hypocritical. The three TV channels ZIK, NewsOne and 112, which were shut down on 4 February, featured numerous senior Ukrainian politicians and officials. In broadcasts of the three channels occurred none less than the first president of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, the head of the right-wing National corpus, Andrey Biletsky, and even the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Selensky. One month before the shutdown, Selenski’s press secretary, Julia Mendel, gave an exclusive interview to ZIK. Now Mendel explains that the TV channel is propagandistic and that the shutdown of the TV channels is completely in accordance with the law.
Presidential party only in third place
The fact that the Ukrainian president is now taking massive action against opposition media is apparently related to the fact that the popularity of Selensky and his party “Servants of the people” has fallen massively. The reason for the loss of popularity of the presidential party is that Selensky has not kept any of his promises. The war against Donetsk and Lugansk continues on a low note. Housing operating costs in Ukraine are increasing. There are no new jobs and Ukrainians are in fact forced to migrate to Poland and other EU countries.
As the “Ukrainian sociological Group” announced at the beginning of February, the Russia-friendly “opposition party – for life” – if there were elections in the next few days – would be the strongest party with 25.7 percent. The party of former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko came in second with 20.1 percent. Only in third place would come the party of Selensky, “Servant of the people”, with 16.6 percent. The party of the former “gas princess” Yulia Tymoshenko would receive 10.8 percent of the votes.
Journalists fear for their lives
One day after the shutdown of the three TV channels, where a total of 1,500 journalists worked, Ukrainian ultranationalist Sergiy Sternenko called via Facebook to create a “blacklist” of all journalists who worked at the three TV channels.
Sternenko is from Odessa. He belonged to the Right sector and is accused of murder. What the” blacklist " is necessary for, Sternenko reasoned via Facebook as follows:
“Friends, after the sanctions have been imposed on the television channels of Medvetschuk, the straying journalists who worked for the occupants of ZIK, NewsOne and 112 can pretend to be good people and get into normal media. Some of the propagandists will hide facts about their activities on the aforementioned TV channels.”
What does it mean to appear on a blacklist in Ukraine? This not only means difficulties in finding a job, but it also means that you become the target of ultranationalists.
It is worth remembering the case of the Russian-friendly writer Oles Busyna, who was shot in front of his house in April 2015. It is also worth remembering the liberal journalist Pavel Sheremet, who was killed with a bomb in central Kiev in July 2016.
Kotsaba: I am constantly changing my whereabouts
Journalist Ruslan Kotsaba, who worked for all three shut-down TV channels, told the author of these lines that he is currently constantly changing his whereabouts and is only travelling by taxi.
Kotsaba is a well-known Journalist. Because he called for conscientious objection to military service in Eastern Ukraine in 2015, he is now being tried for treason. At the last session of the court on 22 January in the Western Ukrainian city of Kolimya, Kotsaba and his lawyer Tatjana Montian were attacked by 70 ultranationalists with a fire extinguisher and clubs.
The police, who were poorly represented in the court, did not arrest any of the attackers and also refused to evacuate Kotsaba from the scene of the confrontation. Kotsaba believes that if representatives of foreign states such as journalists, ambassadors or representatives of human rights organisations had been present in the court, the ultranationalists would not have been able to act violently.
Reporters without borders is silent
The German media’s disinterest in the Kotsaba case and the shutdown of the three Ukrainian television channels is appalling. Even the German section of “Reporters without Borders” has not reported on the shutdown of TV channels and the persecution of Ruslan Kotsaba until today. The last longer report on Ukraine, on the site of the “reporters without borders” is from 2010. A report on the Situation of the media after the Maidan has been deleted. How else can it be, an organization of many that exists at the expense of Western states and therefore maintains the corresponding enemy image.
It has been a tradition since Maidan 2014 that German media do not publish critical articles about the policy of the Ukrainian government and usually do not report on explosive domestic political cases.