The Security Service of Ukraine has banned Russian Union of Journalists’ president Vladimir Solovyov from entering Ukrainian territory for a three-year period. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) condemned the decision, which represents a threat to the right of freedom of expression.
The ban was decided on by Ukrainian security services in February, although it has not been made public until today. The Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) has published a letter they received from the Department of National Security of the State Security Service of Ukraine which stated that the ban was issued “in the interests of ensuring the national security of Ukraine”.
The IFJ and the EFJ, along with their Russian affiliate RUJ, believe that banning the entry of a journalist that leads a journalists’ union is a gross violation of the right to freedom of speech and freedom to exercise journalism masked by an alleged protection of national security. The federations urge both the Russian and Ukrainian authorities to stop banning journalists from entering their territory and to remove all current prohibitions and obstacles to the free exercise of journalism.
“We deplore that Ukrainian and Russian authorities are using journalists as hostages of their political conflict. Banning, threatening or imprisoning journalists are unacceptable behaviors that must end in both countries”, said Anthony Bellanger, IFJ General Secretary.
The EFJ and IFJ will report the case on the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism.