The Association for International Broadcasting has expressed its disappointment at the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to deny entry into the country to RT journalist Paula Slier.

Slier, a veteran South African journalist, founded and runs her own international news agency, Newshound Media, and has been RT Middle East bureau chief since 2005. Slier flew to Kiev from Vienna to take part in an OSCE expert conference, “Strengthening media freedom and pluralism in Ukraine during times of conflict in and around the country”.

A spokesman for Ukraine’s State Border Service said that Slier was refused admission after a five-year ban on her entry to Ukraine, as a person who poses a threat to the country, was introduced in 2016.

The same day Ukraine Border Service personnel denied entry to Yevgeny Primakov, a journalist for Russia’s Rossiya 24 TV channel and aide to the head of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.

“The AIB is disappointed that Paula Slier should have been refused permission to enter Ukraine to cover a media freedom conference,” said Simon Spanswick, AIB chief executive. “There is a certain irony that a correspondent who has worked across Europe, the Middle East and Afghanistan bringing stories to viewers around the world should have been denied entry to report on an important OSCE event. This Association asks the Ukrainian authorities to reconsider their decision.”

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir, recalling the organisation’s April 2014 communiqué on the “denial of entry of journalists from one OSCE participating State to another”  tweeted: “I regret that journalists working for Russian media – Evgeny Primakov & Paula Slier – were reportedly denied entry to Ukraine. I reiterate that all OSCE participating states should facilitate free travel for journalists across the region.”