MOSCOW, March 25 (RIA Novosti) - A ruling by a Ukrainian court to suspend broadcasts of four Russian TV channels in Ukraine is an attack against human rights and media freedom, a senior Russian diplomat said on Tuesday.
The District Administrative Court in Kiev ruled to suspend broadcasts of Russia's Rossiya 24, Channel One, RTR Planeta, and NTV-World in Ukraine pending hearings on a permanent ban.
"Undoubtedly, this should be viewed only as an infringement on democratic freedoms and as a violation of Ukraine's international obligations. Certainly, millions of [Russian-speaking] residents of this country have the right to watch [Russian] TV and have access to [other] Russian-language media," said Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian foreign ministry's point man on human rights.
"Forces that came into power in Kiev as a result of an anti-constitutional coup, have declared their commitment to basic human rights and freedoms, to principles of democracy. Naturally, this announcement contradicts such statements," Dolgov said.
Ukraine is split into Russian-speaking east and Ukrainian-speaking west.
National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine has ordered cable and satellite TV service providers to exclude Russian TV channels, popular among Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine, from their packages.
The watchdog said the Russian channels' coverage of the recent events in Ukraine, including the political crisis and Crimea's reunification with Russia, harms national security.
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic condemned the move in mid-March, saying that that "banning programming without a legal basis is a form of censorship; national security concerns should not be used at the expense of media freedom."