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Ukraine’s Sanctions Against Journalists ‘Draconian’ Measure - Watchdog

© REUTERS / Andrew Kravchenko/Pool Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a cabinet meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Septemver 8, 2015
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a cabinet meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Septemver 8, 2015 - Sputnik International
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The sanctions imposed by Ukraine on foreign journalists represent a draconian measure aimed at censoring coverage of the events in the country, watchdog group Freedom House said in a statement.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, Poroshenko signed a decree sanctioning 90 entities and barring more than 400 people from entering Ukraine for one year, including several high-ranking individuals and journalists.

"It is deplorable that the Ukrainian government is using draconian measures to censor international coverage of events inside the country," Freedom House Vice President for Regional Programs Robert Herman said on Thursday.

"Restrictions should not be imposed on the press except in the most extraordinary circumstances. The government should allow a diversity of voices, which allows citizens to form their own opinions," Herman added.

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In addition to the year-long entry ban, the measure also stipulates asset freezes of the sanctioned entities and individuals.

More than 40 journalists and bloggers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, Latvia and Russia have been sanctioned by Kiev.

A number of foreign media outlets and organizations, including the BBC, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, have condemned Kiev’s move and said it violates media freedom.

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Later on Thursday, Ukraine President’s Press Secretary Svyatoslav Tseholko said that the British, German and Spanish journalists had been removed from the sanctions list.

Freedom House is a watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world and advocates for democracy and human rights, according to its website.

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