MOSCOW, May 19 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova – Ukrainian authorities should respect the safety of journalists working in the country and act in line with acting President Oleksandr Turchynov’s statement on the matter, a representative of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) told RIA Novosti Monday.
Ukrainian security forces recently detained two Russian LifeNews journalists, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko, near the city of Kramatorsk. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to take all necessary measures to secure the release of Russian journalists detained by security forces in Ukraine.
“Reports of the arrests of Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko are clearly a matter of concern and the authorities in Ukraine should order the immediate release of the two journalists, in line with the President's statement last month urging law enforcement agencies to respect the safety of journalists,” said Ernest Sagaga, the head of IFJ’s Human Rights and Safety Office.
Last month, Turchynov instructed law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of journalists during Kiev’s crackdown on federalization supporters in eastern Ukraine.
“During counterterrorist operation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Security Service of Ukraine must ensure measures aimed at protection of journalists, cameramen and other media officials who are marked respectively under the legislation,” the statement on the acting Ukrainian president’s website said.
“With the Presidential election in Ukraine scheduled for May 25 fast approaching, it is important that all sides in the crisis commit themselves to respecting media freedom to move freely and report independently on the event,” Sagaga said.
On Monday, Ukraine expelled a Rossiya TV news team covering events in the country following threats by police to launch a criminal probe against them.
Russian reporters have come under increased pressure for their work in Ukraine, with crews of various Russian media channels and news agencies have been detained all across the country.
There have also been reports of attacks on journalists who have traveled to the region to cover ongoing protests, in addition to entry and accreditation bans.