Das Einreiseverbot für ORF-Korrespondent Christian Wehrschütz in die Ukraine ist ein in Europa inakzeptabler Akt der Zensur. Wir verurteilen dieses mit europäischen Grundwerten völlig unvereinbare Vorgehen und fordern die sofortige Aufhebung des Verbots.
— Karin Kneissl (@Karin_Kneissl) March 7, 2019
Austria's Foreign Ministry will summon Ukraine's ambassador next week over the entry ban on Christian Wehrschuetz, a correspondent for public broadcaster ORF, according to a ministry spokesman.
“We condemn this action, which goes against basic European values,” Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said on Twitter, demanding the “immediate overturn” of the one-year ban.
Kiev has accused Wehrschuetz, who has regularly reported from Ukraine, of border violations in Crimea, “trying to justify the annexation of Crimea” and “anti-Ukraine propaganda”, according to Austrian media.
Wehrschuetz told Oe1 public radio that he would take legal action to fight the accusations against him, calling them “fanciful”.
Earlier Wehrschuetz, who was named “Journalist of the Year” in 2014 by Austria's journalism trade magazine for m his coverage of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, had already been denied accreditation to report from the war-torn region.
The International Press Institute also urged Ukraine to overturn the entry ban.
“The recent harassment and now entry ban on Mr. Wehrschuetz run counter to norms protecting press freedom and freedom of expression that Ukraine claims to respect,” the group's deputy director Scott Griffen said in a statement.
Earlier this year, the head of Ukraine's state broadcaster was fired over “the politicisation of news”, according to him.
His sacking sparked accusations of censorship by media and opposition politicians ahead of a crunch presidential election scheduled for March 31.