“Invalid act of censorship in Europe”. A scandal is brewing between Austria and Ukraine due to the entry ban for journalist Christian Verschutz
Foreign journalists working in Ukraine have the opportunity to personally feel the “freedom of speech” on a Neuvan. The authorities have banned the entry into Ukraine of a famous Austrian journalist, 57-year-old Christian Verschyutts, who worked for 4 years as the head office of the largest Austrian television channel, ORF, in Kiev.
The journalist was credited with “violating the state border of Ukraine”, “participating in attempts to justify annexing Crimea”, as well as “anti-Ukrainian propaganda.”
Earlier this year, Verschyutts, who covered the conflict in the Donbas and made a series of reports from the Crimea, was put on the list of enemies and “pro-Russian propagandists” in Ukraine. In particular, he is accused of allegedly violating Ukrainian laws on July 30, 2018, after leaving Crimea on the Crimean Bridge.
The Austrian government protested.
Foreign Minister Karin Kneisl called the decision of the Ukrainian authorities “an unacceptable act of censorship in Europe.”
“We condemn such an approach, which is completely incompatible with European fundamental values, and call for the immediate lifting of the ban,” the head of the Austrian Foreign Ministry wrote in her Twitter account.
Planned an interview with Zelensky and Tymoshenko
As Verschutz himself told “The Country”, he found out about the ban to visit Ukraine, while in Austria, where he is now editing a film about our country. According to Verschyut, the ban was already confirmed to him at the Austrian Foreign Ministry, where the notification came from Kiev.
Verschyutts told Strana that he had scheduled interviews with Yulia Tymoshenko and Vladimir Zelensky. The journalist does not know whether the ban on entry is associated with this. He said that he had already appealed to the Austrian authorities with a request to influence Kiev in order to fulfill its international obligations to ensure freedom of the press.
ORF CEO Alexander Vrabets protested.
“This constitutes unacceptable interference in the journalistic profession. Werschötz is one of the most famous experts in Eastern Europe. This is an unprecedented restriction of media freedom and disregard of the public information mission in the service of the Austrian people,” said Vrabets.
The Austrian correspondent himself in his conversation with the “Country” said that he had complied with all Ukrainian laws in the Crimean report and did not cross the controversial bridge across the Kerch Strait, but only did a report.
The Ukrainian Ambassador to Austria, Alexander Shcherba, in an interview with Austrian media, stated that the ban is not so much connected with “critical coverage of Ukraine, but with his tone and reaction or setting out what he chooses for his coverage.”
Revenge for criticism and “rebels”
Verschutz himself suggests that the authorities are simply unhappy with criticism.
“I, as it should be, made a report from the Crimea with all points of view. Of course, I wrote there, and I think that it’s true that in the past five years Russia has invested more money in the development of Crimea than Ukraine in 25 years. What As for Donbass, naturally, according to international journalistic standards, I’m not talking about “terrorists,” “occupiers,” but using the term “pro-Russian rebels.” But apparently, someone does not like it, ”Verschyuts said.
Authorities might not like some more observations of a foreign journalist while working in the Donbas.
“I wrote that the blockade of the Crimea and the Donbass is bad for the local population. In addition, Ukraine now buys its coal through Russia for currency, and before the blockade bought it in Donetsk and Lugansk for hryvnia,” the Austrian told reporter.
Olga Vervutsha wrote a post on Facebook to the People’s Deputy of the Committee on Freedom of Speech and the former journalist Olga Chervakova about the ban on entry, who accused the journalist that he was supposedly working “for the Kremlin’s temniki”.
The people’s deputy supported the authorities, stating that, according to the information available to the law enforcement officers, the journalist had visited the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk, Lugansk regions and Crimea through uncontrolled checkpoints from the territory of the Russian Federation over the past four years, thus violating the order of crossing the Ukrainian border.
Versheuts in the comments protested.
“It surprises me that a member of the Ukrainian parliamentary committee on freedom of speech behaves this way. Why did you not contact me before spreading this lie? I never violated Ukrainian laws. I will inform the rest of the Ukrainian authorities appropriately,” journalist.
Afraid to be killed, as Elder
Verschutz twice interviewed the chief editor of the Internet-newspaper “The Country” Igor Guzhva, who in October of this year was granted asylum in Austria.
Interview with Igor, the journalist believes, also influenced the fact that he fell into disgrace.
Back at the end of last year, Verchyuttsy was added to the database of “agents of the Kremlin” called “Posipaka” (“henchman”). This site is similar to the notorious “Peacemaker”. Posipak is supported by the Center for Army Studies, Conversion and Disarmament. The director of this center is journalist Valentin Badrak himself, who is a member of the public council attached to the SBU.
After that, the reporter himself was wary of coming to Ukraine, fearing for his life.
“There are militarized, ultra-nationalist groups in Ukraine that threaten journalists who critically highlight the policy of Ukraine’s leadership. They have already killed their elder, I don’t want to be next,” Verschyutts told us then.
Verschyutts notes the deplorable state of freedom of speech in Ukraine.
“Those journalists who talk about problems in the country, about the real policy of the authorities, are often recorded as“ enemies of the people, ”“ pro-Russian agents. ”In a word,“ bad people, ”Verschyutts told Country.
Information taken from: https://strana.ua/articles/189799-avstrijskomu-zhurnalistu-zapretili-vezd-v-ukrainu.html