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OSCE Media Freedom Representative concerned about sanctions

25.08.2021, 15:42

Today, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro expressed her concern about sanctions imposed by the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC) that were going to negatively affect the work of media outlets and journalists.Teresa Ribeiro said it in the statement on 25 of August, as Interfax-Ukraine reported.

Teresa Ribeiro’s comments follow last week’s decisions of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine on the application of sanctions against several individuals and legal entities, which resulted in the banning of access to various news outlets, including, among others, Strana, Vedomosti and Moskovsky Komsomolets.

“While Ukraine has a legitimate right to protect its national security, the authorities should find a balanced and proportional solution in addressing media related concerns, a solution that preserves media pluralism, free flow of information and diversity of opinions in line with relevant international standards and OSCE commitments,” Ribeiro said. “Media freedom is dependent on a healthy, vibrant and competitive landscape, which includes voices that provide a variety of news. Any sanctions on media should be subject to careful scrutiny, accompanied by effective procedural safeguards to prevent undue interference.”

Ribeiro pointed the authorities to her Communiqué “On the right of the media to freely collect, report and disseminate information, news and opinions, regardless of frontiers,” published in May 2021, in which she recommended participating States to “promote more debate and an open, diverse and dynamic media environment, also on issues that they deem ‘foreign’ or ‘not correct’.”

As IMI reported, on August 20, The National Security and Defense Council has imposed a full package of sanctions against Anatoly and Olga Shariy and against Igor Guzhva, the editor-in-chief of Strana. Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the NSDC, announced at a briefing on August 20 by following a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council.

Bondarenko Alla Ivanivna, Solntseva Halyna Volodymyrivka and Lukashina Lyubov Yuriyivna were also put on the sanctions list. The last two persons are related to Igor Guzhva. Thus, Lasmak LLC , which owns, was registered to his wife Solntseva. This edition was banned. 

On 21st of August, the President Volodymyr Zelensky put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of August 20 inflicting sanctions the Shariys, Anatoly and Olga (Bondarenko), and the editor-in-chief of Igor Guzhva and his associates. The relevant decrees №375/2021 and 376/2021 were published on the President's website on 21 August. 

The sanctions mean blocking access to, social networks and YouTube channels by the Internet service providers. Also they prevent capital outflows outside Ukraine; blocking of assets: temporary restriction of a person's right to use and dispose of property belonging to him (complete blocking, except for withdrawal of funds for the maintenance of minor children in the amount of the subsistence minimum); restrictions on trade operations and more.

Among others, some more media ERA-Media, Begemot Media, and news agency Only News were found out to be targeted by the sanctions. These media are related to the MP Andriy Derkach, who has been on the sanction lists.

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