President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has signed off on legislation that would significantly expand the government’s regulatory power over the news media, a measure that journalists have warned could erode press freedom.
Mr. Zelensky, whose administration has been criticized for undermining press freedoms, ordered the drafting of a law increasing media regulation in 2019.
The measure was passed by Ukraine’s Parliament earlier this month along with a spate of other bills that lawmakers say were intended to help the country meet the European Union’s legislative conditions for membership. The bills included measures to protect the rights of national minorities. Mr. Zelensky signed the media regulation bill into law on Thursday, the Ukrainian media reported.
The media regulation bill expands the authority of Ukraine’s state broadcasting regulator, the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting, to cover the online and print news media. It gives the regulator the power to fine media outlets, revoke their licenses, temporarily block certain online media outlets without a court order, and request that social media platforms and search giants like Google remove content that violates the law, the Ukrainian news media has reported.