Comment by the Information and Press Department on Ukraine banning the entry of Secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists Ashot Dzhazoyan
Kiev continues to target Russian journalists for reprisal. The Security Service of Ukraine has committed yet another outrage, banning Secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists Ashot Dzhazoyan from entering Ukraine for three years. This move is fully in line with Ukraine’s consistent policy of violating the principle of free speech. This Russian citizen’s visit to Crimea, one of the regions of his country, was interpreted by the authorities as a “publicly dangerous act that runs counter to Ukrainian security interests.”
There can be no question that this decision flies in the face of the fundamental principle of press freedom. It is all the more absurd considering that Ashot Dzhazoyan was among those who actively promoted the dialogue between Russian and Ukrainian journalists under the OSCE aegis. The project’s declared aim was to overcome aggression, strengthen media freedom as a fundamental democratic principle, and work to improve safety for media personnel and protect their rights in Ukraine. The rapid deterioration of the situation in this respect since 2014 remains an important point on the agenda of specialised international organisations.
The multilateral discussions moderated by OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic also focused on media activities in Crimea. It turns out, therefore, that Kiev, while ostensibly committed to human rights imperatives, has decided to punish a journalist and public figure for his efforts to consolidate the professional community of both countries, which, it would seem, command nothing but profound respect and, moreover, have been supported both by Ukraine’s national media unions and this authoritative international organisation.
It is symptomatic of the larger problem that Kiev regards this effort as a threat to national security.
We expect a prompt response to this event from related international institutions, primarily the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.