Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj is having all Ukrainian television stations merged. This was reported by "Tagesschau" in its Ukraine blog over the weekend. ARD Aktuell refers to a statement from the Ukrainian President's Office, according to which Selenskyj has signed a decree to this effect. In times of war, it is important to have a unified information policy, it said in justification. It is unclear when the decree will come into force.
According to an analysis by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education, the media pluralism of the traditional media in Ukraine, i.e. television, radio, and newspapers was severely limited even before the decree came into force. On the one hand, because the private media were predominantly owned by influential Ukrainian businessmen and politicians. On the other hand, because public broadcasting had and still has to struggle with financial problems.
The fighting in Ukraine has now also affected the broadcasting infrastructure. At Ukraine's request, broadcasters from the European Broadcasting Union are supporting public broadcasting there with technical aid supplies. Broadcasters from ARD and ZDF are also among the supporters. The goal is to build new broadcasting facilities in western Ukraine.
The extent to which the media situation in Ukraine differs from that in other European countries was demonstrated in February 2021, when Selenskyj had pro-Russian news channels in Ukraine blocked by decree. "Freedom of expression ends when Ukrainian sovereignty is interfered with," was the reason given.
According to a report by MDR, the problem was that the switched-off stations were also the mouthpieces of an opposition party that could seriously compete with Selensky. Russia could now use the interconnection of all TV stations to accuse Ukraine of bringing the media into line.
Photo by Mantas Bytautas