OSCE representative warns of further threats to media pluralism in Luhansk and Crimea, notes threats to media workers
VIENNA, 11 July 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today warned about actions that could further limit media freedom and media pluralism in Luhansk and Crimea.
“I am deeply concerned about the continuous attacks of the separatist forces against television channels in Luhansk and Crimea. These actions effectively endanger the safety of journalists and violates the right of people to freely receive information,” Mijatović said.
On 9 July the staff of Luganskoye Kabelnoe Televideniye (LKT) was forced to leave the channel’s building by a group of armed separatists. The transmission of LKT was replaced by broadcasts of Russian 5 Kanal. On 4 July separatists seized the office of the Luhansk Regional State Television and Radio Company and broadcasting was suspended as a result of the attack.
Mijatović also noted reports about the exclusion of the biggest independent broadcaster on the Crimean peninsula, Chernomorskaya TV, from several cable networks in Crimea. According to reports, Chernomorskaya TV and a number of other Ukrainian television channels, were taken off leading cable networks in Crimea on June 28.
“The unilateral decision to stop retransmission of Chernomorskaya TV can further curb media freedom and limit media pluralism, not least since the channel is known for its balanced and objective reporting,” Mijatović said. “I strongly encourage those responsible for broadcasting regulations on the Crimean peninsula to immediately look into this matter.”
Further, Mijatović noted with deep concern reports about death threats against a group of Ukrainian journalists and owners of media outlets by the so-called ‘Russian Liberation Front’ on 10 July. She said her office will monitor these incidents closely.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on facebook.com/osce.rfom.