On May 15, a spokeswoman for the US Department of State Heather Nauert described Kiev’s raids on offices of Russian news agencies as a legitimate fight against “Russian propaganda.”
“We understand that Ukraine, like a lot of other countries, has been concerned about intense propaganda,” Nauert told journalists during the press briefing. “Goodness, when we talk with a lot of our allies and partners overseas, they certainly have fallen victim and understand the influence and the reach of Russian propaganda. So we do understand Ukraine’s concerns about that.”
On May 15, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) raided the offices of Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti and TV channel RT and detained Kirill Vyshynsky, who heads the Ukrainian bureau of RIA Novosti, and some other journalists, whom are now being questioned by security forces.
General Prosecutor of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko justified the raids calling the editorial policy of RIA Novosti “anti-Ukrainian” amounting to the “state treason.”
Прокуратура АР Крим і СБУ сьогодні перейшли до активної фази знешкодження антиукраїнської діяльності чергової російської…
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) endorsed Russia’s stance in the issue. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir called on Ukrainian authorities to stop their “unnecessary limitations” against Russian journalists. Désir recalled that Ukraine being under the Helsinki Final Act is obliged to provide safe conditions for journalists in the country.
I express concern about today's raid on Russian media in #Ukraine; reiterate my call on all #OSCE pS to refrain from unnecessary limitations on foreign journalists. Fight against propaganda must not fall short of international standards.
My statement: https://t.co/oDCr5LdpAo
— OSCE media freedom (@OSCE_RFoM) May 15, 2018
“I recall that under the Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE participating States have committed to facilitating the conditions under which journalists from one participating State exercise their profession in another participating State,” Désir stressed. “This applies to the accreditation of journalists and correspondents of foreign media.”
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also expressed concerns over the Ukrainian measures against Russian news agencies. Coordinator of the Europe and Central Asia Program of the CPJ Nina Ognianova called on “Ukrainian authorities to stop harassing and obstructing Russian media operating in Ukraine”.
“The criminalization of alternative news and views has no place in a democratic Ukraine,” pointed out Ognianova.
”We also call on Ukrainian authorities to stop harassing and obstructing Russian media operating in Ukraine. The criminalization of alternative news and views has no place in a democratic #Ukraine." @CPJ_Eurasia’s @Kremlinologist1 https://t.co/zF3Nngpaux
— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) May 15, 2018
Russia slammed the actions of Ukrainian authorities stressing that the Ukrainian government has repeatedly “put pressure on freedom of speech” in the country.
A spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova stated that Ukraine “made extremely provocative steps on international platforms”:
“We have taken note of the escalation in the Ukrainian authorities’ repressive activities in the information space, ranging from attacks on and deportation of Russian and foreign journalists from Ukraine to provocations against Russian diplomats on international media platforms,” Zakharova said. “We believe that this forbearance directly threatens the future of the common European space because it is promoting the suppression of dissent in the worst totalitarian traditions.”