circling the wagons
Zelensky nationalizes TV news and restricts opposition parties
On Saturday and Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked his emergency powers under martial law to suppress several opposition political parties and implement a "unified information policy."
In an address to the nation delivered Sunday, he announced a temporary ban on "any activity" by 11 political parties.
The ban includes the Opposition Platform – For Life party, which holds 43 seats in Ukraine's national parliament and is the largest opposition party.
Opposition Platform – For Life is a pro-Russia party, but on March 8, party leader Yuriy Boyko demanded that Russia "stop the aggression against Ukraine," according to Ukrainian outlet LB.
That same day, Viktor Medvedchuk, who was accused of treason against Ukraine in May and escaped from house arrest shortly after the invasion began, was removed from his post as the party's co-chair. Russian President Vladimir Putin is godfather to Medvedchuk's daughter.
Zelensky's information policy involves "combining all national TV channels, the program content of which consists mainly of information and/or information-analytical programs, [into] a single information platform of strategic communication" to be called "United News."
Reuters notes that, until Saturday, privately owned Ukrainian media outlets "continued to operate" independently.
Zelensky said the measure was necessary to combat Russian misinformation and "tell the truth about the war."