The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has lifted persona non grata status from two Spanish journalists who were denied entry to the country in August. The entry ban was supposed to last until 2020.
SBU Spokesperson Olena Hitlyanska announced the ban’s reversal during a Ukrainian Parliamentary session on October 10.
Photo credit: EPA.com
On August 24, Spanish journalists Antonio Pampliega and Angel Sastre were detained upon arrival at Kyiv’s Boryspil airport. Border guards informed them that their names had been included on an entry ban list by the SBU. They were subsequently deported from the country.
The reason for the ban was Pampliega and Sastre’s coverage of the war in Ukraine’s east, which the authorities considered false. The two journalists’ names had previously appeared on another sanctions list published by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine in 2015.
The journalists’ deportation raised serious questions about freedom of speech in Ukraine. The Madrid Association of Journalists even accused Ukraine of “attempting to introduce censorship.”