Following the latest Report of the Chief Monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission to the OSCE Permanent Council, the Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović condemned the continued deterioration of media freedom and safety of journalists in conflict-affected parts of Ukraine. This was reported on the site of OSCE.
On 19 January OSCE Chief Monitor, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, highlighted several developments which continue to limit freedom of expression and freedom of the media in areas not controlled by the Ukrainian government, including a ban of over 350 websites and continued restriction of access to Ukrainian media outlets, both in print and broadcast. Particularly worrying, the Representative noted, is the continued threats and intimidation of media workers, as well as the arrests of bloggers.
“Access to information, plurality of opinion and the safety of journalists continue to suffer in times of crisis,” Mijatović said. “As is the case in Crimea, the ongoing deterioration of free expression and free media in conflict-affected parts of Ukraine is deeply disturbing.”
In addition, the Representative expressed concern once again regarding the persecution of Crimean journalist Nikolay Semena from the Krym-realii online media outlet.
“The case of Semena reminds us all of the arbitrary practice of silencing critical voices in Crimea,” Mijatović said. “It is totally unacceptable to persecute the journalist for expressing his views. I call for all charges against Semena to be dropped.”
The Representative has repeatedly expressed concern about media freedom violations in Crimea and the conflict-affected parts of eastern Ukraine, particularly highlighting attacks on journalists and media outlets, as well as the blocking of Ukrainian broadcasting channels and their illegal replacement with state broadcasters from the Russian Federation.
Earlier it was reported that Ukraine welcomed OSCE intention to strengthen technical capacity of observation in ATO area. Muzhenko thanked Apakan for the consistent position in support of the Minsk agreements.