MOSCOW, September 13 (RIA Novosti) – The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is calling on the Ukrainian authorities to respect media, following a raid by representatives of the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) on the editorial office of the Vesti newspaper in Kiev, according to an OSCE report released late Friday.
"I call on the Ukrainian authorities to refrain from any measures, which could intimidate members of the media and impede the work of media outlets," OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic said as quoted by the report.
"National security concerns related to the current challenges in Ukraine should not justify disproportionate restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of the media," Mijatovic noted.
The representative also said that she was concerned about reports of 35 Russian journalists and media functionaries, having been banned from entering Ukraine at the request of the country's National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting.
"Media and journalists should not be used for advancing political agendas. I urge the members of the National Council to refrain from promoting such restrictive policies," Mijatovic said.
"Barring journalists to enter the country, based on a perceived bias by public officials is wrong and runs counter to the OSCE commitments on free expression and free media," the representative added.
On Thursday, editor-in-chief of the Vesti newspaper Igor Guzhva wrote on his Facebook page that SBU representatives were conducting a search at Vesti's editorial office in Kiev.
Also on Thursday, the head of Ukraine's National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting Yuriy Artemenko said that the SBU had banned 35 Russian journalists from covering events in the country for the period from three to five years.
Earlier, the Council sent a list to the SBU of 38 Russian journalists to be banned from entering Ukraine.
The list includes the editor-in-chief of Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, Dmitry Kiselev, the Channel One southern bureau chief, Yulia Chumakova, journalist Vladimir Solovyov and actor Ivan Okhlobystin.