Civilians continue to be targeted as part of a war to punish the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics for daring to exercise their right to democratic self-determination.
The western reaction to Ukraine’s attempts to censor popular social media websites like VK has been rather more vocal, although the western mainstream media continues to broadly ignore this story.
The US based Human Rights Watch has condemened the Ukrainian Presidential degree to remove social media network VK and popular search engine Yandex, among others, from the web in the country.
Tanya Cooper of Human Rights Watch has said,
“This is yet another example of the ease with which President Poroshenko unjustifiably tries to control public discourse in Ukraine”.She continued,
“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”.What’s more is that, the censoring of social media whether by the private or public sectors is, in the year 2017, a danger to public safety.
During terrorist attacks or natural disasters, social media is often the first place where individuals can both spread and receive vital information about a dangerous situation. Law enforcement and loved ones increasingly rely on stories from social media in order to take the appropriate actions to insure safety and calm.
The fact that the Ukrainian regime doesn’t care about this should surprise no one. After all, this regime has been committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Donbass ever since 2014. Additionally, the human rights record of the regime in areas it controls is appalling. Neo-Nazism is rampant as is violent racism against Russians, Poles, Jews and non-white individuals.
Tanya Cooper further stated,
““In a single move Poroshenko dealt a terrible blow to freedom of expression in Ukraine.Few people relate social media to public safety. This is a concerning oversight in the wider public discourse.
It’s an inexcusable violation of Ukrainians’ right to information of their choice, and the European Union and Ukraine’s other international partners should immediately call on Ukraine to reverse it”.
However, in the vainglorious 21st century, when a selfie is worth more than the lives of Donabss men, women and children, perhaps this issue may force western eyes to examine the workings of the vile fascist regime in Kiev more than issues of life and death could ever do.