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Simple access to Crimea for foreign journalists

20.12.2016, 12:57

The existing system of issuing special permits creates many obstacles for foreign journalists to access Crimea, that is why it should be simplified.

The round table "Access of foreign journalists to the Crimea: how to break through the information blockade?" was organized on Dec. 19 by Human Rights Information Center at the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.

According to Art. 10 of the Law "On the rights and freedoms of citizens and legal regime in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine," foreigners can travel to Crimea only from the side of Ukraine. Besides, foreign journalists must have special permitions. The State Migration Service of Ukraine is giving this documents.

According to the head of the Human Rights Information Center Tatiana Pechonchyk, this resolution is unduly bureaucratic and creates significant barriers for foreign journalists in Crimea. "For special permits Foreign journalists should come to Ukraine, apply in Ukrainian, obtain a letter of approval from the Ministry of Information Policy, send all these documents to the State Migration Service of Ukraine, and wait up to five days. It is not possible to apply from abroad through consular and diplomatic establishments of Ukraine, they can not submit documents in English. Foreign journalists are wasting time and money by following bureaucratic procedures, instead of covering repressions in Crimea."

Human Rights Information Center offers to simplify access to Crimea for foreign journalists and international human rights lawyers. In particular, the goal is to provide notification character of entry instead of permissive. It is needed to work out simplified system of getting permits for international human rights missions, journalists and lawyers who are visiting the occupied territories for monitoring and protection of human rights, as well as coverage of the situation in Crimea.

Another problem to discuss at the round table was a passage to get to Crimea. Foreign journalist can visit Crimea only from mainland territory of Ukraine.

Roman Kabachiy, from the Institute of Mass Media, said that in one way or another journalists will visit the peninsula for work or observation, so Ukraine should do everything to facilitate such visit. Another thing that permissions recieved from Ukraine should not be a "red rag" to the Russian special services. The documents will immediatelly attract their attention. "Perhaps such permits should be given in a secret way," - said Kabachiy.

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