On the 02nd day of November, 2017 the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Borys Babin held a working meeting with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Mr. Harlem Desir. During the meeting, the Permanent Representative informed the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media about the mandate of the Representative Office and about those tasks that are currently solved in the context of armed aggression of the Russian Federation and attempts at annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Borys Babin drew attention of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media to the illegal broadcasting by the occupation authorities of Crimea on the occupied capacities and frequencies of Ukraine with the propaganda of chauvinism, ultra-nationalism and language of hatred, as well as contrary to the rules of the International Telecommunication Union and the International Telecommunication Association.
Attention of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media was drawn to the ongoing crackdowns against few activists-streamers and social media commentators, prohibition of any independent coverage of events and suppression of all major Crimean Tatar media in the occupied Crimea. Borys Babin mentioned a fact of construction of a new transmitting tower near the town of Dzhankoi (the so-called “Salt Lake” project), whose purpose is to wide broadcasting from the occupied Crimea to a significant part of the mainland Ukraine, and this is considered by the Ukrainian side as a threat to information security of our state within the framework of hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation.
Harlem Desir told the Permanent Representative that the situation with freedom of speech in Crimea is in the field of his constant attention, in particular, the statement about events involving the prosecution of the Crimean journalist Mykola Semen was his first statement in the position of OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. Harlem Desir stated state willingness to visit Crimea when corresponding circumstances arise and declared readiness to examine the issue of distribution of russian broadcasting to the mainland territory of ukraine, aspects of the language of hatred in the print media controlled by the occupation authorities, especially at the district and departmental level, and to consider the possibility of assistance to representatives of the crimean tatar media in organizing independent and impartial broadcasts.
On the 02nd day of November, 2017, the Permanent Representative also met with the First Deputy of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Office of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Ms. Katarzyna Gardaphadze, the parties discussed the possible ways of interaction between the Representative Office and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Borys Babin offered the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to use the possibilities of the Representative Office to interview the inhabitants of Crimea, who are applying for administrative services to the Representative Office and / or crossing the administrative border at the checkpoints in Kherson region. For that purpose and for the purpose of monitoring of violation of other human rights, commitments and principles of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Representative Office is ready to become a platform for dialogue between interested public organizations and international structures.
The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights was appealed to facilitate the intensification of dialogue between the organizations of Crimean Tatars in the field of protection of human rights and to consider the possibility of supporting independent lawyers, who today practically carry out the function of human rights defenders under the conditions of massive restrictions of human rights by the occupation authorities in the occupied Crimea. Ms. Katarzyna Gardaphadze expressed interest in cooperation on issues offered by the Permanent Representative, while noting the limited financing of project activity. Also there was expressed a desire to form an alliance with international organizations in order to fix violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea and to find ways to remedy them.