Ukraine censoring information – US State Department — RT World News

Ukraine censoring information – US State Department — RT World News

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Allowing bad news to occasionally slip through would be better than fostering a climate of total control, a senior diplomat has said

The Ukrainian government should be more open with the public about communicating hard truths about the battlefield situation, a senior US State Department official has said.

In an interview with Politico on Thursday, James Rubin, who leads the Global Engagement Center, a US agency tasked with exposing and countering disinformation, noted that while Ukraine is “moving in the right direction,” it is not yet “a fully-fledged democracy,” which implies certain constraints for media in the country.

In light of this, officials in Kiev “may [sometimes] resist the kind of freedom of information that’s normal for us,” he said.

The diplomat urged the Ukrainian government to be less restrictive when overseeing the media coverage of the hostilities. “Some days, war reporters report things that aren’t necessarily in the interest of [Ukrainian President] Vladimir Zelensky,” he said, adding that given Kiev’s democratic aspirations, occasional bad news is preferable to living in an overly controlled environment.

Ukraine embarked on a censorship crusade against Russian-dominated internet resources several years before the start of the current conflict, banning the social media network Vkontakte and search engine Yandex among others as early as 2017.

After the outbreak of the conflict in February 2022, Ukraine broadly intensified censorship and propaganda. In late 2022, Zelensky signed a law that significantly expanded the government’s authority to regulate media, outlawing positive coverage of Russia’s actions and allowing for outlets to be temporarily banned.

The new legislation sparked fierce criticism both in Ukraine itself and in the West. The European Federation of Journalists said it contradicted standards of press freedom common on the continent.

In June 2023, the Intercept reported that Kiev had imposed extremely tight restrictions on reporter access to the front line, denying or revoking press credentials from both foreign and Ukrainian journalists over their coverage.

Last month, the New York Times also reported that many Ukrainians had grown tired of the telemarathon established by Zelensky shortly after the start of the conflict, which runs around the clock on national television. The paper described the program, which provides a relentlessly optimistic take on battlefield developments, as “little more than a mouthpiece for the government.”

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