Blocking access to popular Russian social media networks, such as VK (formerly VKontakte) and Odnoklassniki in Ukraine is a matter of state security and not only freedom of speech, as the NATO Press Office commented on the latest initiative of Kiev on May 16, TASS News Agency reported.
According to President Poroshenko’s decree and the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, all public access to Russian social media platforms, news outlets, and a major search engine which are widely used in Ukraine, is banned.
In addition, the decree also orders a block on public access to the Russian Mail.Ru service and the Yandex search engine.
However, these decisions do not cause concern to Ukraine’s Western partners. Western partners, closely working with Ukraine to “strengthen its reforms, including in the fields of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Freedom of speech is covered by this dialogue.” They strongly believe in Ukraine’s “commitment to its international obligations and the system of checks and balances in place in Ukraine”.
According to experts, about 36 million people in Ukraine use mail services are subject to be blocked. And about 26 million Ukrainians have their private social media accounts on banned Russian social networks.
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted, “Ukrainian authorities’ flagrant disregard for international law and morality and its own commitments to human rights and freedoms have become a fact of life”. The Russian Foreign Ministry also offered “Western partners, who are so closely concerned about democracy and information security”, to react to “this brazen disregard for universal international standards and obligations” demonstrated by the Ukrainian regime.
A representative of the Human Rights Watch describes the actions of the Ukrainian President as “an inexcusable violation of Ukrainians’ right to information of their choice”.
“This is yet another example of the ease with which President Poroshenko unjustifiably tries to control public discourse in Ukraine,” said Tanya Cooper, Ukraine researcher with Human Rights Watch. “Poroshenko may try to justify this latest step, but it is a cynical, politically expedient attack on the right to information affecting millions of Ukrainians, and their personal and professional lives.”
The human rights activist demanded that “Poroshenko should immediately reverse the ban“.
Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency