MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday expressed concern over violation of media freedoms and discrimination against journalists covering the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine.
The ministry listed a number of instances in which it said Russian reporters had been blocked from entering Ukraine, deported from the country or faced pressure and even death threats.
According to the ministry, some Russian media websites have been targeted by hackers supporting the recent revolution in Ukraine, while several Russian television channels have been blocked by Ukrainian cable TV providers.
On Tuesday, the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine ordered Ukrainian providers to stop broadcasting Russian TV channels Vesti, Russia 24, Channel One, RTR Planeta and NTV Mir, citing measures to ensure the national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The parliament of Ukraine’s heavily ethnic-Russian populated Crimea has declared its intention to secede from Kiev and join Russia following the recent revolution in Ukraine. Russia has said it will welcome the Crimea, while international leaders have condemned the move for secession as illegal and accused Russia of attempting to annex the region.
Russian TV, which is almost exclusively state-controlled, tends to reflect Moscow’s official position, and has come under fire for portraying a biased view of events in Ukraine.
Amnesty International has said journalists face harassment and intimidation in Crimea from pro-Russian activists.
The Foreign Ministry sharply criticized what it said was a double standards policy and selective approach “in the assessment of the freedom of the press in Ukraine by international organizations, non-governmental organizations and human rights groups, which are turning a blind eye to such a blatant show of censure.”
“We expect the OSCE representative for media freedom to give a prompt and unbiased assessment of these instances of violations of journalists' rights and to ensure that those currently in power in Kiev comply with the relevant OSCE obligations," the ministry said.