Media watchdog CPJ "dismayed" at new sanctions by Ukraine

KIEV, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed dismay on Thursday at Ukraine's decision to ban dozens of mostly Western journalists on a new list of extended sanctions, a move that is likely to alienate foreign lenders and investors.

President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree on Wednesday imposing restrictions on more than 900 people for reasons of "national security", reacting to a separatist rebel decision to hold what Kiev sees as illegal elections.

"We are dismayed by President Poroshenko's actions, including a ban on dozens of international media covering Ukraine," Nina Ognianova, Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator of the New York-based advocacy group, said in a statement.

"While the government may not like or agree with the coverage, labeling journalists a potential threat to national security is not an appropriate response."

The ban, which affects 34 journalists and seven bloggers from countries including Britain, Germany, Spain and Bulgaria, appears to be something of an own-goal for Ukraine, which needs the support of European partners to maintain pressure on Russia.

"This is overkill. The sanctions are going to cause more harm than good. They should have been more flexible in their approach," said Volodymyr Fesenko, an analyst at Kiev's independent Penta political research centre.

(Reporting by Alessandra Prentice and Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Kevin Liffey)



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