Ukraine: Attacks on media freedom in Crimea

By Kira Kirschbach
On Tuesday, journalist Nikolay Semena was intimidated and detained. In addition, a newswebsite run by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is to be blocked.

In the morning of 19 April, Nikolay Semena’s flat was dearched. In addition, his equipment and computer was seized, he himself was detained by the security forces. He was released after several hours but it is reported that a travel ban and compulsory registration was imposed.

Dunja Mijatović, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media is worried about this development:

This recent detention only shows the urgent need to stop the arbitrary practice of silencing journalists in Crimea.”

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The Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reported about the initiation of a prosecution of Semena: Natalja Poklonskaya, Prosecutor General of the Crimea, stated that “a journalist is charged with violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation”, without explicitly referring to Semena. The Crimea-journalist worked with several Ukrainian newspapers like “Day“. He also is a former correspondent for Russian “Iswetija”.

The same day, Crimea-prosecutor Poklonskaya also announced to ask Russian prosecutors to block the access to the Krym.Realii newswebsite according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the broadcaster that runs the website.

Krym.Realii was criticised several times before as it openly criticizes the annexation of the Crimea peninsula by Russia. Poklonskaya now accused the website of publishinh materials containing “justification of sabotage, extremism and endless slander of government bodies in Crimea”.

In addition to this, OSCE Representative Mijatović referred to two other acts of intimidations on Tuesday against photographers Ljenjar Abibulaev and Ruslana Lyumanov.