All journalists should be removed from Ukraine’s list of banned individuals

New York, September 17, 2015–Ukrainian authorities today removed six international journalists from a list of at least 41 journalists and bloggers who have been banned from visiting the country for one year, according to news reports. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the decree on Wednesday which banned a total of 388 individuals who it said represented “an actual or potential threat to national interests, national security, sovereignty, and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.” Today, three BBC journalists, two Spanish journalists, and a German reporter were taken off the list.

“We are glad that Ukrainian authorities have reacted to the international outrage that the ban provoked by removing six international journalists from the list,” said Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “Now, President Poroshenko’s government should remove all journalists and bloggers from the list and allow them to cover the region freely.”

Poroshenko signed the decree, which named foreign companies and 388 individuals–most of them Russian–whom the country considers connected to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, according to news reports. Following an international outcry against the inclusion of dozens of journalists–including two Spanish reporters believed to be held captive in Syria–Poroshenko ordered the ban to be reviewed, news reports said. “Freedom of the press is of absolute value to me,” Poroshenko said today, according to a tweet by his spokesman.

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