Comment by the Information and Press Department on the developments around Ukrainian journalist Vasily Muravitsky
We noted the developments related to the harassment of Vasily Muravitsky, a journalist from Zhitomir, by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). He faces charges of high treason for alleged cooperation with the Russian media and dissemination of pro-Russian materials.
Regrettably, this is just another episode in the campaign on violent suppression of opposition journalists and the total cleanup of Ukraine’s information space for the needs of its ruling regime under the pretext of countering “the aggressor’s propaganda.” There are dozens of such cases, for instance, the recent harassment of Igor Guzhva, the editor of the Strana.ua website.
Incidentally, this is no surprise since quite recently SBU Head Vasily Gritsak officially announced the need to conclude a contract on information unity in countering “representatives of the fifth column of the Russian Federation” and indict them with a criminal offence. It is abundantly clear that any normal Ukrainian journalist that contradicts Kiev officials may be named “the enemy’s agent.”
Large scale total closure of Russia’s news programmes and websites in Ukraine, as well as widespread harassment and power pressure on Ukrainian journalists are flagrant violations of the basic principles of the freedom of expression that form the foundation of civilised ideas on media activity and that are fixed in the fundamental documents of the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe and other relevant international agencies.
Regrettably, we have to state that the “European way” in Ukraine’s style amounts to a return to the worst totalitarian practices of suppressing dissent.
Once again we are urging the OSCE and the Council of Europe member states to join the Russian Federation in denouncing Kiev’s barbarous and criminal policy towards the media.