AEJ condemns Ukraine‘s entry ban for Austrian journalist
Austrian Radio and TV-correspondent Christian Wehrschuetz was refused permission to enter Ukraine for reporting purposes on March 7th for one year. The Ukrainian security service SBU accused Wehrschuetz of illegally entering the Crimean peninsula and of „anti-Ukrainian propaganda“ but Wehrschutz has disputed both claims. He reported about the opening of a new bridge from Russia to the Crimean peninsula but says that he stayed on Russian territory.
Before the entry ban Wehrschuetz had earlier been denied accreditation for reporting from the war zone in Eastern Ukraine.
Austria’s foreign minister Karin Kneissl called the entry ban „an unacceptable act of censorship“.
Wehrschuetz has reported for the public broadcaster ORF from Ukraine and the Balkan region over many years. The international Board of the AEJ calls on the Ukrainian authorities to overturn the ban on Mr. Wehrschuetz and said in a statement: „The Ukrainian authorities should refrain from these methods to censor and block the reporting activities of foreign journalists. The AEJ also notes the inconsistency in the Ukrainian government’s position, as it has itself protested against similiar actions taken by the Russian authorities against the freedom of the media and the free movement of journalists across borders.“