Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on the Ukrainian authorities denying entry to journalists from Russia

Tuesday, 26 June 2018 15:08

On June 26, Ukrainian authorities denied entry into the country to journalists working for Russian media outlets Yevgeny Primakov (VGTRK) and Paula Slier (RT), who went to Kiev to take part in an OSCE conference. The absurdity of the situation stands in stark contrast to the theme of the conference, “Strengthening media freedom and pluralism in Ukraine during times of conflict in and around the country.” The Ukrainian border officials stopped Primakov and Slier at the airport for an interview and subsequently told them officially that they have been banned from entering Ukraine for five years.

We view these restrictive measures as fresh proof of Kiev’s refusal to curtail its repressive policy towards the media, in particular, Russian media, which is aimed at suppressing the freedom of speech in Ukraine. This act of discrimination looks all the more offensive since the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, previously confirmed the open nature of the planned event in a letter to Russian journalists and thanked them for their interest. We consider as unacceptable the OSCE’s organisation of its events without ensuring that they can be attended by all those interested.

It is obvious that the Kiev authorities, who have systematically infringed on the rights of journalists in the absence of international censure, see that they can act with impunity. This policy will further aggravate the problem with the freedom of speech in Ukraine.

We hope that the participants of the aforementioned conference will censure this outrageous infringement on the rights and freedoms of journalists, as Mr Harlem Désir has done. At the same time, we expect the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and other international organisations concerned to adopt a harder line regarding the Kiev authorities’ policy of curtailing the freedom of speech.

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