Former President Petro Poroshenko said he sold two TV channels to current and former employees to comply with a controversial new law targeting the wealthiest people in Ukraine.
Poroshenko, a billionaire who was president from 2014 to 2019, said in a November 8 video statement posted on his party’s website European Solidarity that he was “forced” to sell the channels following the signing. of a bill known as the anti-oligarch law.
He also accused his successor, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, of seeking to limit freedom of expression.
“The main reason they came up with the so-called ‘oligarchs law’ … is for the [office of the president] take full control of the media, ”said Poroshenko, who is seen as a contender for the 2024 elections.
Zelenskiy, a newbie to politics, beat Poroshenko in a landslide in 2019 on the promise to reduce the power of tycoons who, for decades, exercised inordinate influence over government, business and the media, holding back the growth of Ukraine.
Ukrainian activists say tycoons are using their media assets – which in many cases are in deficit – to attack opponents and pursue their own personal affairs and political agenda.
Zelenskiy signed a new law on November 5 that defines an oligarch based on several criteria, including wealth of tens of millions of dollars, monopoly control of an industry, possession of media assets and political activity. .
Those who meet the criteria – which will be determined by a government body led by Zelenskiy – would be barred from funding political parties or participating in privatizations.
“There can be no choice but to dismantle the oligarchic system. Without it, it is simply impossible to overcome poverty in Ukraine and fully join the European community,” he said. noted after signing the invoice.