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Give us a free choice! Half of Ukrainians unhappy with country’s repressive ban on Russian TV & social media, poll reveals

Give us a free choice! Half of Ukrainians unhappy with country’s repressive ban on Russian TV & social media, poll reveals
Kiev’s ban on Russian film and TV channels hasn’t gone down well with the Ukrainian public, according to new research, with close to half of the country against the tough measures, which deny them a free choice of viewing.

The Social Monitoring Center poll, released on Monday, found that 47 percent of respondents said banning Russian TV was “a mistake.” The punitive measures have also drawn criticism from press freedom watchdogs.

Over 50 percent felt that the blacklisting of certain artists, as well as Russian films, was the wrong decision. Censorship of social media networks was even more unpopular, with only 42 percent agreeing with the government position that it was necessary for national security.

Ukraine has had blanket bans on more than a dozen Russian outlets, including RT’s news channels, since the 2014 Maidan, when the Interior Ministry accused networks of spreading “propaganda” about the conflict in the east of the country. “Ukraine should protect its media space from Russian aggression,” a spokesman said at the time.

Also on rt.com Ukrainian journalist attacked on air, channel called ‘fascist’ at memorial for Soviet-era famine victims (VIDEO)

Kiev has also banned journalists from many Russian news organizations from entering the country, and frozen their assets. The decision was criticized by the international Committee to Protect Journalists, who called on Ukrainian authorities “to refrain from banning information sources, be it ones with favorable or unfavorable coverage.”

Reporters without Borders has also warned that the country’s stance on the free press requires improvement. It ranks in the bottom half of their World Press Freedom Index, and they say that “much more is needed to loosen the oligarchs’ tight grip on the media, encourage editorial independence and combat impunity for crimes of violence against journalists.”

Last week, a journalist from a Ukrainian TV news outlet was attacked live on air by a masked man who broke her microphone and branded the channel “fascists.”

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