Statement on Media in Crimea by Marie Harf, Acting State Department Spokesperson

I have a couple items at the top, so bear with me.  First, in the State Department’s Free the Press campaign – and I think we have some photos, hopefully, coming up – we have two cases for today’s Free the Press campaign.

The first comes from Russian-occupied Crimea, where de facto authorities have shut down 11 of the 12 Crimean Tatar media outlets, including ATR TV – I think it’s up behind me now – the last independent television station serving the Crimean Tatar population.  Occupation authorities also have banned most Ukrainian language programming, replacing content with Russian programming.  These restrictions on media freedom are part of a worsening situation that demonstrates Russia’s disregard for the population of Crimea.  Occupation authorities are systematically closing the space for freedom of expression and leading an intimidation campaign that targets independent journalists for detention and prosecution.  All residents of Crimea should have access to a wide range of news, opinion, and information.  We condemn Russia’s abuses and call for the end of its occupation of Crimea, which is part of Ukraine, as we’ve said.