: Crimean journalists persecuted by Russia – Ukraine's delegates at UNESCO

09:57 May. 3, 2016

Crimean journalists persecuted by Russia – Ukraine's delegates at UNESCO

Crimean resident burns E.U. flag (UNIAN Photo)

Ukrainian reps presented report about violations of freedom of speech and media in Crimea at UNESCO summit

Since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has been 'destroying' freedom of speech on the peninsula. Independent journalists and citizens have been silenced or prosecuted.

This is according to the report of Olena Yurchenko, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent, at the UNESCO summit dedicated to the World Press Freedom on May 2.

Read also: UNESCO refuses to recognize Crimean historic site as part of Russia

Yurchenko claims Moscow is spying on the reporters on the occupied peninsula. "Russian police are physically preventing journalists from taking photos and shooting video at public events. State-run media workers often lodge information against them", Yurchenko says in her speech.

She adds, Russia is banning media outlets which oppose the Kremlin's policy. The courts in Crimea are prosecuting journalists who don't support the occupation of the peninsula and prohibition of Crimean Tatars Mejlis.

"Independent journalists are declared extremist. Several of them are accused of separatism. People who criticize Russian government in social media may get imprisoned", claimed Yurchenko.

Watch also: 'Freedom of speech under threat in Crimea' – OSCE

She insists, international observers must be granted access to occupied Crimea. Yurchenko calls on Russia to open the peninsula for monitors and human rights groups.

On April 19 so-called Crimean prosecutor Natalia Poklonska announced Mykola Semena, a journalist for RFE/RL project Crimea.Realities, was under criminal investigation. He was accused of inciting hatred and separatism on the peninsula. 

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