Media freedom situation in Crimea, Ukraine, at all-time low, OSCE Representative says
VIENNA, 5 March 2015 – One year on after her assessment visit to Ukraine, which included Simferopol, Crimea, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today said the media freedom situation in Crimea has continued to deteriorate.
“The continuous dismantling of free media in Crimea and the crackdown on independent and critical voices is deeply disturbing and worrying”, Mijatović said. “Truth is the first casualty in times of crisis and this certainly applies for Crimea. I call on those responsible to stop media censorship and to ensure journalists’ safety”, Mijatović said.
Mijatović visited Simferopol on 5 March 2014 and met with media associations and local journalists to discuss the safety situation for members of the media in Crimea. At that time, the Representative expressed deep concern about the intimidation by self-defence forces and local militia on independent journalists, media outlets and media NGOs.
The Representative has repeatedly spoken out on the media freedom situation in Crimea the past 12 months, noting that:
- All Ukrainian television channels have been switched off and replaced with channels originating from the Russian Federation;
- Journalists from at least thirteen independent media outlets, freelance journalists and bloggers have been threatened, assaulted, physically attacked, banned from entry, interrogated and kidnapped; their equipment confiscated or damaged;
- The premises of at least six media outlets and media NGOs have been raided; in some cases their equipment was seized;
- Crimean Tatar media has been under extensive censorship, and also subject to raids and detention of staff.
The Representative’s statements on the media freedom situation in Crimea are available at www.osce.org/fom/143841.
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.