Zelensky orders Ukrainian TV to conduct 'round-the-clock information marathon'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a law introducing a “unified information policy” that provides for the merger of all national news TV channels into a single “round-the-clock information marathon.”
Citing martial law, the decree signed by the leader on March 19 says the goal is to combat “active dissemination of misinformation by the aggressor state (Russia).”
According to the text of the decision made by the Security and Defense Council, the unified information policy is necessary to “to tell the truth about the war” and is “a priority issue of national security” amid Moscow’s ongoing military offensive.
Martial law was introduced in Ukraine on February 24, the day Moscow launched its military attack against the country, and will be in force until at least the end of April.
The new channel will be known as “Unique News #UArazom,” according to the decree.
The council ordered the merger of “all national TV channels with broadcast grid consisting mainly of information” and analytical programs into one round-the-clock information channel. The new policy came into force immediately after the president’s approval.
Russia and Ukraine have consistently blamed each other for spreading disinformation amid the ongoing war.
The implementation of the “unified information policy” came on the same day that Zelensky, also citing martial law, announced a move to outlaw 11 political parties, including the parliament’s second-largest group, Opposition Platform – For Life, for their “connections” with Russia.
Earlier this month, Russian lawmakers approved legislation banning the dissemination of ‘fake news’ about Moscow’s military operation. Those found guilty under the law could be placed behind bars for up to 15 years. Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor also blocked access to several liberal news outlets, including Ekho Moskvy radio, Dozhd TV channel, and the Latvian-based Russian-language website Meduza.
Responding to Ukraine’s banning of political parties on Sunday, Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin accused Kiev of trying to “shut the mouths” of people who disagree with it. Meanwhile, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev remarked sarcastically that Zelensky had “taken another step towards the Western ideals of democracy.”
Moscow attacked Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics with capitals in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.