MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) – A New York-based media rights watchdog has hit out at Ukrainian authorities over their ban on Russian television broadcasts in the country and has urged Kiev to immediately restore unrestricted access to information, a statement published on its website Thursday said.
“We are concerned by Ukraine's ban on Russian television channels and call on authorities to reverse it immediately. The Ukrainian public deserves access to a range of information that reflects all sides and views,” the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Europe and Central Asia program coordinator Nina Ognianova said in the statement.
Kiev’s decision to take Russian television channels off air in Ukraine came in a bid to stop an alleged wave of pro-Russia propaganda following Crimea’s decision to join the Russian Federation.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov earlier ordered cable operators across the country to stop airing 14 Russian television channels, including RT, RBK-TV and LifeNews, citing the country’s right to “defend its information space from Russia's informational aggression.”
Press freedom in Ukraine, especially in its volatile southeastern regions, has steadily deteriorated in recent months, with journalists being detained, attacked, abducted and killed, according to CPJ research.
Earlier, the watchdog organization harshly condemned Ukrainian authorities for concealing the whereabouts of Andrei Stenin, a Russian photojournalist with the Rossiya Segodnya news agency who disappeared in Ukraine in early August.