Ukraine’s demand that Apple ban several Russian media apps from that national segment of its online store is a desperate infringement of free speech which shows both how insecure Kiev’s leadership is of its people having access to alternative information as well as what an embarrassment this EU-aspiring state has become for so-called “Western values”.
A Legal, But Nevertheless Immoral, Move
Ukraine demanded that Apple ban several Russian media apps from that national segment of its online store, a dramatic step that earned the wrath of Russian diplomats over the weekend who condemned this infringement of free speech. Like any country in the world, Ukraine has the right to legislate its corner of the internet in line with its national security interests, but that still doesn’t mean that its latest move was moral. In fact, it’s arguably counterproductive in two respects since it revealed just how insecure Kiev’s leadership is of its people having access to alternative information as well as what an embarrassing this EU-aspiring state has become for so-called “Western values”.
Kiev’s Guilty Conscience
After all, the targeted media apps simply provide a different interpretation of the facts than the “official” one pushed by the Ukrainian government, so allowing them to remain in that national segment of Apple’s online store doesn’t objectively present any danger to national security. It does, however, create the possibility that more Ukrainians might realize just how much they’re being lied to by their government and its new Western patrons, which could in turn ultimately lead to a critical mass of them regretting the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” that actually destroyed their people’s political, economic, and human dignity. Evidently, Kiev is conscious of its countless “shortcomings” (to put it mildly), hence why it’s resorting to censorship of the facts.
Apple Prioritizes Profits Over Principles
Apple doesn’t have any interest in supporting free speech since it’s a private company that’s first and foremost concerned with its profits, not principles. Failing to abide by Kiev’s demands could lead to accusations that Apple is “meddling” in “Ukrainian democracy” by refusing to support the host country’s “national security” concerns. The Ukrainian market isn’t all that significant for Apple, but the company fears that much larger ones such as India might get spooked by it refusing to bow to the state’s “national security” demands, which could in turn provoke them into taking preemptive action against it to avoid such a scenario. In order to not ruin the hard-earned trust that it built with governments across the world, Apple has no choice but to comply with Kiev.
Ukraine: Western Embarrassment Or Shining Example?
Ukraine’s Western patrons are probably real embarrassed by what’s happening since the EU-aspiring state is officially supposed to support their principles, including free speech. That said, it can cynically be noted that those same Western patrons don’t truly abide by the same principles that they promote abroad, particularly in terms of their existing censorship (both official and informal) of alternative views. In a sense, one might say that Ukraine, far from being the “black sheep” of the “Western family”, is actually a shining example of everything that the West really stands for in practice but either doesn’t care enough to hide this ugly reality or isn’t even cognizant of how poorly it’s perceived by the masses who are indoctrinated to believe in such principles.
Russia Is One Of The Last Real Refuges For Free Speech
By contrast to those two (the West and its proxy government in Kiev), it can be argued that Russia is a much more firm proponent of the free speech principle. Alternative interpretations of the facts aren’t banned in Russia except if they promote terrorist narratives or openly espouse unconstitutional regime change goals, which is an international standard that isn’t unique to the country’s policies. If Russia implemented Ukrainian-style censorship, then it would ban the BBC, CNN, and US government-funded media like Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. It hasn’t done this, however, because it doesn’t fear the effects of its people being exposed to alternative narratives and sincerely respects the principle of free speech within reasonable limits.
One can only imagine the global uproar if Russia did what was previously described, which is why the silence over Kiev’s censorship of Russian media is so deafening. This observation proves the existence of double standards whenever Western media reports on Russia whereby real, exaggerated, and even imagined problems are decontextualized and over-amplified whereas the same are usually ignored for reasons of “political convenience” whenever Western countries or their proxies experience them. Regrettably, not many people will ever realize the aforementioned insight since they’re already living in such heavily censored societies that the examined news event probably won’t be reported upon by their media all that much, if at all.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of Insider Paper.