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MOSCOW, June 20. /ITAR-TASS/. The Kiev authorities were challenged on Friday to ensure safety for media professionals working in Ukraine's armed conflict zones.
“The situation with the mass media in Ukraine is constantly deteriorating. We again have to face the fact that Russian journalists, that truthfully report on Ukrainian events, are being hunted,” warned Andrei Kelin, Russia's Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), quoted on Russia's Foreign Ministry website.
“If Russian journalists had been detained and tortured before, now they are just killed,” he was quoted as saying, citing the deaths of public broadcaster VGTRK correspondents Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin near Ukraine’s eastern city of Luhansk on June 17.
“We join OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic in calling on Kiev’s authorities to protect media representatives working in Ukrainian conflict zones and to bring those responsible for the tragedy to trial,” he said.
Mijatovic said earlier this week that “the media freedom environment” was deteriorating in Ukraine. “I am also worried about the harassment of journalists in the country, which has a negative effect on media professionals who strive to inform the public. I continue to call on all parties to let journalists do their job in a free and safe manner,” she said in a statement then.
Diplomat Kelin noted that the Russian media were also attacked by the Ukrainian National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting, which had ordered all cable operators to stop transmitting a number of Russian channels, including TVCI (TV Center International), Life News, Russia Today and REN-TV.
“We should stop the illegal practice of abducting journalists and ensure their right to cover events freely and objectively,” Kelin said. “We hope that recent assurances (Ukrainian President) Petro Poroshenko has given, also while talking to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, will be put into action.”
Poroshenko, speaking by telephone with President Putin on Tuesday, offered condolences over the journalists' deaths, pledging a thorough investigation and measures to ensure journalists' security.