OSCE Representative urges authorities in Ukraine to respect media after raid on Vesti newspaper
VIENNA, 12 September 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today called on the Ukrainian authorities to respect media following a raid by law enforcement officers on the editorial office of the Vesti newspaper in Kyiv.
On 11 September, representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) searched Vesti’s editorial office in Kyiv, confiscated office equipment, working materials as well as journalists’ personal belongings. The SBU reportedly conducted the search as part of its criminal investigation into the newspaper’s publications, which allegedly contained information infringing Ukraine's territorial integrity.
In addition, on 11 September the SBU also searched the Mega-Polygraph printing house, where Vesti daily is printed. According to printing house representatives, the search resulted in delays to the printing of many other media publications along with Vesti.
“I call on the Ukrainian authorities to refrain from any measures which could intimidate members of the media and impede the work of media outlets,” Mijatović said. “National security concerns related to the current challenges in Ukraine should not justify disproportionate restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of the media.”
In July the Representative raised concern about an attack on Vesti’s editorial office (www.osce.org/fom/120957).
The Representative also said that she was concerned about reports that the SBU has banned 35 Russian journalists and media functionaries from entering Ukraine at the request of the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine.
“Media and journalists should not be used for advancing political agendas. I urge the members of the National Council to refrain from promoting such restrictive policies,” Mijatović said. “Barring journalists to enter the country based on a perceived bias by public officials is wrong and runs counter to the OSCE commitments on free expression and free media.”
In August the Representative wrote a letter to the Chair of the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council Yuriy Artemenko saying that the institution in charge of broadcasting regulation should not engage in the practice of banning members of the media from crossing a national border.
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 www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.