The world community has been yet again a witness to official Kiev’s discriminatory and, essentially, repressive policy against the Russian media. Today, in the early hours, after first being interrogated for many hours by the police and then the intelligence service, NTV reporter Vyacheslav Nemyshev was expelled from Ukraine “because of his activities that are harming [the country’s] national interests.” He has been banned from entering the country for three years.
The regular gross violations of the rights of the Russian media and absurd reasons cited to justify them, as well as the growing persecution of local independent journalists are demonstrating that objective information is seen by Kiev as a real threat to the regime rather than a precondition for building a democratic society. While pledging to move towards “European values”, in real life, the Ukrainian authorities are shaping a classic totalitarian system making suppression of dissent the norm.
The Russian media staff started treating any editorial assignment to Ukraine similar to that of a trip to a danger zone, because Ukraine cannot guarantee either their safety or favourable and calm working conditions. Moreover, the authorities have even thrown their weight behind mounting lawlessness in respect of our journalists for whom blatant provocation, wanton arrests as well as deportation and bans on entering the country have become part of their everyday professional activities in Ukraine.
We call again on the specialised international agencies, in particular, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, to give their appraisal of principle of Kiev’s violations of the rights of Russian journalists. We wish the “old European democracies” did not keep away from the fair and necessary criticism of actions by their junior partners.