Sputnik: Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) raided RIA Novosti Ukraine headquarters on Tuesday and detained the head of the web portal. The crackdown was condemned by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). How significant is this?
Nikola Mirkovic: This is quite significant but not surprising. Don’t forget what happen in 2013 and 2014, with the new government and President Poroshenko – there has been a crackdown of free speech globally across Ukraine. 7 or 8 Ukrainian journalists have reportedly been killed, and today we see that Ukrainian authorities are cracking down on foreign media. There is a consensus, there are rules for countries within OSCE that you do not do this; Ukraine are showing that they just don’t care about these rules and are instead cracking down on journalism and free speech in the country.
Nikola Mirkovic: They will probably try to close down RIA Novosti, what they are trying to do is they don’t want different information than the official information. They are in a situation of propaganda with a one way media system. They are accusing Russia but what they don’t want is media speaking differently to what the government thinks, highlighting what isn’t working properly in Ukraine today. This is propaganda and unfortunately, mainstream media in the west is not talking about it. This is bad. This is a direct attack on democracy if you cannot let journalists speak freely. I think the government will go all the way and intimidate journalists so they don’t express what they really about Ukraine.
Sputnik: Finally could we potentially see these scenes replicated in the near future with other broadcasters and media outlets? Who’s at risk here?
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