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OSCE Urges Ukraine to Refrain From 'Laws Limiting Free Media'

FILE - The rostrum of Ukraine's parliament is seen through a reporter's camera monitor in Kyiv, Sept. 17, 2015.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has called on Ukraine's government to refrain from laws limiting free media and free flow of information.

The OSCE issued a statement Friday in response to amendments that Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko signed earlier this week to the country's law on cinema. According to the OSCE, those amendments tighten restrictions on the distribution and broadcast of certain audio-visual materials, allowing a "blanket ban" of all Russian films produced or released since the beginning of 2014, the year Russia annexed Crimea in a move described by Western nations as illegal and illegitimate.

“Even under the state of hostilities democratic countries have a responsibility to carefully address the potentially problematic content, for example through the use of appropriate judicial mechanisms, in order to avoid overbroad steps and introduction of censorship-like provisions,” the OSCE's Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, was quoted as saying. “Ukraine’s current significant progress in the area of media freedom should be preserved and enhanced, not undermined.”

Ukraine was ranked 107th out of 180 countries in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index compiled by watchdog group Reporters Without Borders. That was a significant improvement over 2015, when it came in 129th place.

Reporters Without Borders this year ranked Russia 148th out of 180 countries - a slight improvement over 2015, when it was came in 152nd place.