Ukraine President Zelensky signs decree creating unified national news source
Ukraine President Zelensky signs decree creating unified national news source

Citing martial law, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Sunday signed a decree combining all national tv channels into one platform in accordance with the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council’s decision to implement  a “unified information policy.”

Around-the-clock information will run on the consolidated platform called “United News.” The decree also provides that privately-owned media companies shall remain suspended. The statement released by Zelensky’s office highlights the significance of unified information as Russia invades the country. The objective of developing a single information platform  is to counter the “active dissemination of misinformation justifying or denying the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine” and to “tell the truth about the war.”

Throughout the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the spread of disinformation and false narratives have been used as strategic propaganda tools. Politico reported that the disinformation campaign, led by Kremlin-backed news outlets, trolls and other online actors, is fully funded and orchestrated by the Kremlin to spread propaganda implicating Ukraine in civilian killings.

The decree responds to Russia’s war-time media law which has been described as a “total information blackout.” The law introduced criminal liability for the public dissemination of deliberately misleading information and discrediting of the Russian Federation Armed Forces.

Russia’s disinformation campaign has been met with widespread sanctions from the international community. In February, the EU Commission announced a ban on Russian state-owned news channels RT and Sputnik. Google and Youtube also cut off ad-revenue streams for RT and Sputnik. Facebook’s parent company Meta released an update explaining that its team monitoring the Ukraine situation is on high alert and has restricted access to RT and Sputnik. Similarly, Twitter has restricted access in Russia.