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There used to be over 3 thousand media outlets in Crimea before occupation, about 250 left after, says Tasheva

07.02.2023, 15:45
Photo: screenshot from video by Ukrinform
Photo: screenshot from video by Ukrinform

By 2014, over 3,000 media outlets were registered in Crimea. After the occupation, this number dropped to 250, 19 of these media outlets being Russian, and the rest re-registered. In order to keep pushing its toxic narratives without hindrance, the Russian Federation "colonized" Crimea informationally. Currently, there are no free, independent media – only broadcasters working for Russia are allowed to operate on the peninsula.

The representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Tamila Tasheva, stressed this in her column for "Ukrainian Pravda".

She noted that the Russians drove Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar media out of the occupied territory and started persecuting independent journalists, which is the reality to this day.

"Freelance journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko, who, despite the ban by the occupation authorities, used to make trips to the peninsula to film reports on the crimes by the occupation administrations, was sentenced to five years in prison. Citizen journalist Iryna Danilovych received an unlawful sentence: seven years in prison for being brave enough to cover the human rights violations in the healthcare field on the occupied peninsula in her blog. We should also mention Nariman Celal, in addition to his work in the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, used to be a journalist for the ATR TV channel and "Avdet" newspaper before 2014, and multiple citizen journalists of the 'Crimean Solidarity' movement, who are now being unlawfully prosecuted for alleged 'terrorism'," Tamila Tasheva reminded.

According to the representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the occupiers are blocking people from accessing information en masse. Not only those who work in the media or are otherwise associated with journalism are persecuted and punished, but also ordinary activists who try to reveal the truth.

"After the full-scale invasion, they went as far as including a new article in the criminal code of the Russian Federation – Article 207.3 on "public dissemination of evidently false information about the deployment of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation." The punishment for this is criminal liability in the form of a fine ranging from 700 thousand to 1.5 million rubles and imprisonment for a term of up to three years. With aggravating circumstances, the fine may range from 3 to 5 million rubles, and the imprisonment term from 5 to 10 years. If the act led to grave consequences, the imprisonment may last for 10 to 15 years," Tasheva added.

In her opinion, establishing and supporting programs for the return of Ukrainian media to the de-occupied Crimea with further assistance in the progress of their work on the peninsula is a timely task right now.

"Financing such programs is something one can do even before deoccupation, which is only a matter of time. We want to and must be ready. Of course, this also includes support for the creation of physical offices of national scale media and media in the languages of Crimea's indigenous peoples on the peninsula. We are ready to report on the processes on the peninsula for a wide Ukrainian audience," Tasheva wrote.

She noted that combating the influence of Russian propaganda may involve the implementation of separate programs for countering disinformation and endorsing media literacy among Crimeans, as well as programs for developing critical thinking. It is expected to stimulate citizen journalism, in particular on the basis of grants from international funds.

As IMI reported, since the start of the full-scale war, Russia has stepped up pressure on Crimeans who publicly support Ukraine – at least 15 journalists and bloggers are currently imprisoned.

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