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Journalists Say Press Freedom Has Suffered in Crimea

FILE - Armed men check journalists' documents around the regional parliament building in the Crimean city of Simferopol, March 1, 2014.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says it is alarmed by the media environment in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine one year ago.

The New York-based global watchdog group said in a statement published on its website Thursday that the climate for press freedom had steadily deteriorated in Crimea since March 2014.

“Journalists covering the annexation of Crimea have been detained, interrogated and attacked, while news outlets have been raided and taken off the air,” CPJ noted. It said other journalists had been refused registration by Russia's state media regulator, Roskomnadzor.

CPJ quoted Ukrainian journalists as saying Crimean news outlets faced repression under Russian “draconian laws.” It also quoted several Crimean journalists as saying they and their outlets had been forced to flee the region.

Journalists, human rights activists and news organizations, including those affiliated with Crimea's Tatar minority, have been constantly harassed since Crimea's annexation, CPJ said.

It called on Russian authorities to respect and protect “the right of all citizens of Crimea to access news and information reflecting a full range of viewpoints and languages."