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ORF’s Christian Wehrschuetz may have angered officials with his critical reporting.12 March 2019
Initially, Ukraine told Austrian authorities that Wehrschuetz, the Kyiv bureau chief for Austrian public broadcaster ORF, was barred because his camera crew crossed the Kerch Strait bridge linking Russia to Russian-controlled Ukraine in violation of Ukrainian law. Wehrschuetz said he never set foot on the bridge while his crew filmed the segment last July, RFE/RL reports.
Then, on 9 March, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said the ban was justified by the need to ensure Wehrschuetz’s safety, citing his concerns about “threats to his life in Ukraine,” the Kyiv Post wrote.
The SBU said Wehrschuetz feared attacks from Ukrainian nationalists angry about his critical reporting on the government, RFE says.
Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl last week called the decision “an unacceptable act of censorship.” Wehrschuetz vowed to contest the ban, Reuters reported.
After being called on the carpet by the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Ukraine’s ambassador to Vienna denied the ban had anything to do with freedom of speech.
Ambassador Oleksandr Scherba said a delegation of Austrian journalists, some known for anti-Ukrainian views, was permitted to enter the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine recently. Those journalists “simply have an elementary respect for Ukraine and its legislation,” while Wehrschuetz didn’t abide by Ukrainian law “and was punished very mildly,” he told Evropeyskaya Pravda, Interfax-Ukraine writes today.
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The 2019 edition of Prague Media Point will highlight these types of inspiring examples and more. We will offer a mix of scholarly presentations, including keynote addresses; sessions with innovators explaining their solutions; and networking opportunities to promote the exchange of know-how. As in years past, the conference will have a special regional focus on Central and Eastern Europe, though we look forward to covering cases and trends from other parts of the world. – WHAT’S WORKING
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