CPJ condemns ban of U.S. journalist from Russia

New York, January 14, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports that veteran U.S. journalist David Satter has been banned from Russia for five years. Satter, adviser to the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times, told CPJ that the Russian foreign ministry told him to leave the country on December 4 and reapply for a Russian visa. But, he said, on December 25, the Russian embassy in Kiev rejected his visa application. The journalist is currently in London.

“We call on Russian authorities to allow David Satter back in the country and let him do his work unobstructed,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “The banning of a prominent international journalist from Russia, just weeks from the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics, is a menacing omen for the thousands of foreign journalists due to attend the Games.”

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said today that Satter, who has been in Russia since September, had violated Russia’s immigration law and was banned from the country for five years. Satter, who has been critical of the Russian government, denied the allegations on his website.

On January 28, CPJ will release a report on the press freedom conditions surrounding the Sochi Olympics.