11:45 15 Feb 2021

Minister of Culture: Russia indirectly financed "Medvedchuk's channels"

Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko believes that Russia indirectly financed NewsOne, ZIK, and 112 Ukraine TV channels, at least at the acquisition stage.

He stated this in an interview with LB.

"As for me, during the work of the PIC (provisional investigatory commission – ed.) on Medvedchuk's channels, we were allowed to get acquainted with the documents. I was interested in the fact of their acquisition because there's a long and confusing history. I have reason to talk about indirect funding from Russia, at least at the stage of acquiring these channels," Tkachenko said.

According to him, discussing what to do with the TV channels, which are, in fact, the Kremlin's propaganda machine on the territory of Ukraine, took place in different formats, in different compositions, and lasted for over two months. Obviously, the minister said, political will was needed to make such a decision.

"This idea (about blocking channels – ed.) was mine, too. I was one of those who reported it – during the discussion in various circles – as the most effective and revealing," the Minister of Culture said.

Tkachenko believes that the mechanism of sanctions against the media should be applied in a targeted manner.

"… I would be cautious about the mechanism of sanctions against the media. In extreme cases, as, of course, with Medvedchuk's channels (NewsOne, ZIK, and 112 Ukraine – ed.), it's justified, as far as I understand, both legally, and in terms of protecting national interests, and politically. But in the future, this mechanism should be applied point by point, in the presence of evidence of activity, referred to by law enforcement agencies," Tkachenko said.

He noted "another interesting aspect."

"Everyone's discussing where the audience of these channels went after the closure, but I'd pay attention to the content of advertising. On the main channels, the occupancy rate of advertising is over 80%, on these, it's the lowest in the country, 1.5%. That is, it wasn't about money or earnings at all. If you look at Channel 24, everything is in advertising, direct and indirect, and it's a specific tool of political operations on the territory of Ukraine," the minister stressed.

As reported, Zelenskyi imposed sanctions on Medvedchuk's colleague Kozak and his TV channels for 5 years. Zelenskyi called this decision difficult.

Besides, the National Security and Defense Council blocked the company, which has 7 private planes, including Kozak's personal plane.

In response, OPZZH stated it was initiating impeachment proceedings against Zelenskyi.

On February 4, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy sent an official letter to the YouTube administration to block the sanctioned TV channels.

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