22:17 GMT +311 December 2017
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    Ukraine Ban on Russian Journalists Opens Path to Government Censorship

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    Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia Researcher Tanya Cooper suggested that Ukraine’s international partners should protest the decree that ban 17 editors and reporters from Russia and urge Kiev to revoke it.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Ukraine’s crackdown on foreign journalists, including last week’s decision to ban 17 editors and reporters from Russia, reflects a government move toward censorship, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch said in a press release on Wednesday.

    "Ukraine is legitimately concerned about the effects of Russian propaganda, but cracking down on media freedom is a misguided, inappropriate response to whatever disagreement the Ukrainian government may have with Russia’s media coverage about Ukraine," Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia Researcher Tanya Cooper stated. "Targeting journalists in this way inevitably encourages censorship."

    In addition to the latest ban, that was imposed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a May 27 decree, Ukraine had blacklisted earlier 41 journalists and bloggers from several countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Israel, the release explained.

    Cooper suggested that Ukraine’s international partners should protest the decree and urge Kiev to revoke it.

    "The European Union, United States and others need to make clear that they do not support such arbitrary measures against the media, and encourage President Poroshenko and his government to respect media freedom even if they disagree with the coverage by certain outlets."

    Ukraine aspires to join the European Union, where decrees targeting journalists would most likely be considered illegal, unless a nation first declared an official state of emergency, the release noted.

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