Here is the CPJ:
New York, September 16, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores a decree signed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today which, according to a copy viewed by CPJ, bans at least 41 international journalists and bloggers from Ukraine for one year. The journalists and bloggers were among 388 people named as representing an “actual or potential threat to national interests, national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” according to news reports… The 34 journalists and seven bloggers named in the ban come from Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The decree, which was published on the presidential website, does not explain what press coverage Ukrainian authorities deem as a threat to national security. Three BBC journalists including Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg were banned.
Irish journalist Bryan MacDonald has the most comprehensive writeup at RT.
Apart from various Russian politicians and celebrities like Kobzon, the list also includes tons of Western journalists, European politicians, and an American businessman.
The standard reason apparently given to all or most of them (can’t be bothered reading the whole thing) is “creating an actual and/or potential threat to national interests, national security, and the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” “promotion of terrorist activities and/or violation of the rights and freedoms of people and citizens, the interests of the state,” the “destruction of jobs” (so now we know who’s responsible for Ukraine’s descent into Gabon: Russian journalists like the BBC’s Steve Rosenberg!), and various other grave sins.
Now in my opinion all states have the right to exercise control over their sovereign banners. Russia itself has started denying visas to particularly hostile journalists. The US has a habit of denying visas to “unfriendly” journalists, especially uppity leftist Latin American and Palestinian ones, though for some reason that gets much less attention than Russian bans in the Western media. Australian feminists don’t want controversial foreign citizens teaching game to their less seductively successful menfolk. More power to them! And, likewise, Ukraine as a state – even if not a particularly civilized one that serves any useful purpose – has the right to ban whosoever it so wants.
It’s not like there aren’t multitudes of real human rights violations happening in Ukraine, anyway. There are literally thousands of political prisoners, including journalists like Ruslan Kotsaba whose only crime was to verbally oppose conscription. And those are the lucky ones: Some, like Oles Buzina, have been murdered outright by Neo-Nazi death squads who enjoy implicit backing from the regime. None of this has really drawn any attention let alone condemnation from prominent Western journalists and politicians, so one can hardly expect them to protest mere visa bans directed against the Russian aggressors.
Expect that these visa bans also happened to affect Western journalists, including three journalists at the BBC. While the BBC is relatively impartial, even going so far as to question the official narrative on the Euromaidan massacre, there is no questios that its general sympathies lie with the Maidan and that a significant percentage of their journalists are overtly hostile to Russia. They also banned two Spanish journalists. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to have visited Ukraine anyway, since they are currently missing in Syria and presumed captured by ISIS. Nonetheless, even from Islamic State captivity, they manage to continue to exercise a threat to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and employment statistics of Ukraine. Most impressive!
New low: Spanish journos Antonio José Rodríguez Pampliega, Ángel Sastre in Poroshenko's sanctions list. They're in Syria, kidnapped by ISIS
— Nahia Sanzo (@nsanzo) September 16, 2015
This is all far worse than just scummy conduct. When even your sympathizers are either criticizing you or plotting how to best spin the story so as to not to have the regime come off in too bad of a light – indeed, when just a few hours later you have to backtrack and let the BBC journalists (though apparently not anyone else) continue visiting Ukraine after all just – it’s a downright PR disaster.
Which really says something about the quality of Ukrainian decision-making, because in the current Cold War 2 atmosphere the propaganda war is entirely Kiev’s to lose.
There are two factors that help explain this. First, for all its fervent portrayal of itself as a European state, and its cargo cult like destruction of Soviet monuments and renaming of Communist themed streets (at the expense of local people – you’re welcome!), Ukraine remains a deeply and innately sovok state. Hence the stereotypically Soviet like methods that Ukraine uses to “affirm” its European identity. Would any country that knew itself to be a real European state, as opposed to Gabon-with-snow, use such cack-handed methods? Probably not. With people as with nation-states, it is those most loudly proclaiming themselves to be anti-sovoks who tend to be the most sovok of them all.
Second, it points to the dearth of human capital in Ukrainian state agencies. Now bureaucrats in Ukraine or for that matter Russia have never been worth writing home about, but in post-Maidan Ukraine we really appear to be approaching some kind of rock bottom. I suspect the SBU folks charged with compiling this list, after coming up with some obvious and “legitimate” candidates, could not be bothered with further research and just started assigning people at random based on them fulfilling some basic criterion, e.g. keyword searches indicating that they had once said something remotely uncharitable about Ukraine.
But I for one am not an uncharitable person, so I would like to do my small part to help them out: I propose they include me in any future sanctions, as well as the bloggers and journalists under the “Ukraine” tab on my blog’s sidebar. That’s eight people, or 2% of any future 400-person quota. You would at least save yourselves some embarassment, and nobody will really be materially affected by this – the only country on the Pontic steppe that I at any rate would conceivably visit while the junta remains in power is Novorossiya, and a Ukraine visa ban would be something I’d be otherwise happy to put on my CV.
Any svidomy-leaning readers – please feel free to forwards this to the SBU. No need for MVD head Anton Gerashchenko to bother identifying me by IP!