Location Ukraine Ukraine

Ukraine’s security service deports Russian journalist

Russian journalist Anna Kurbatova was grabbed on the street in the center of Kiev on August 30 by unknown people and later deported, according to her employer Russian state television’s Channel One. Ukraine’s security service (SBU) said authorities have banned the journalist from entering Ukraine for three years.

In a pair of Facebook posts, SBU spokesperson Olena Gitlyanska said Kurbatova was deported for defaming Ukraine and working as a propagandist. “This is what will happen to everyone who dares to disgrace Ukraine,” the spokesperson wrote.

“We call on Ukrainian authorities to allow Anna Kurbatova and other Russian journalists to work without fear of abduction, deportation, and other means of reprisal,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “Ukraine is in an information war with Russia, but singling out reporters for retaliation is not the means to win it. Kiev should fully embrace press freedom as a sign of its commitment to building a strong democracy.”

Kurbatova’s deportation comes days after the SBU barred two Spanish freelance journalists from entering Ukraine for three years over reporting that allegedly contradicted Ukraine’s national interest.

Channel One said Kurbatova was preparing a report on the persecution of journalists in Ukraine at the time of her detention. Most recently, the reporter had covered Ukraine’s Independence Day military parade on August 24.

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30 August 2017 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media today expressed his concern regarding the practice of detention and expulsion of foreign journalists from Ukraine.

Today, Anna Kurbatova, a journalist working for the Russian Perviy Kanal, was detained by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Kyiv. According to an SBU spokesperson, the journalist will be expelled from the country “for disgracing Ukraine”.

“Expelling journalists from or denying them entry to Ukraine are troubling and excessive measures, especially as these actions lack transparency and a proper appeal mechanism,” Désir wrote in a letter to the Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin today. “OSCE participating States have committed themselves to improving the conditions under which journalists from one participating State practice their profession in other participating States,” he added.

The Representative has previously addressed Ukrainian authorities on similar incidents involving journalists working for the Russian State Television and Radio Company.

On 14 August the SBU detained and deported Tamara Nersesyan who stands accused of damaging Ukraine’s national interests. She has been banned from entering the country for three years.

On 26 July, the SBU deported Maria Knyazeva and denied her entry into the country on the grounds of biased coverage of the situation in Ukraine.

Désir also noted that on 25 August, the SBU denied entry to two Spanish journalists, Antonio Pampliega and Manuel Ángel Sastre, and banned them from entering the country for three years, reportedly for “activities countering national interests of Ukraine”.

“I call on the respective authorities to refrain from imposing unnecessary limitations on the work of foreign journalists, which affect the free flow of information and violate OSCE commitments on freedom of the media,” the Representative said.

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The European Commission expects Kiev to adhere to democratic standards when making decisions on the ban on the entry and expulsion of some foreign journalists.

As UNIAN correspondent reports from Brussels, the representative of the European Commission, Maya Kosjanchich, said this, commenting on the facts of the inadmission of two Spanish journalists to Ukraine and the expulsion of a Russian journalist from the country.

“When it comes to the case of a Russian journalist, I want to emphasize that the protection of national security and citizens must be ensured without violations of fundamental rights and freedoms, including the European Convention on Human Rights, and any such decisions should be taken cautiously, with respect for the right to freedom. We expect that the Ukrainian authorities will refrain from applying excessive restrictions on the issue of free submission of information to the media”, – she said.

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