(QHA) -

Authorities in Crimea should stop harassing the independent regional broadcaster ATR and allow the outlet to cover the news free from reprisal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in the statement.

The statement comes as the Simferopol-based anti-extremism department of Crimea's interior ministry sent a letter to the independent regional broadcaster ATR, accusing it of inciting extremism and ordering its management to submit a list of the broadcaster's documents, including its registration and licenses and staff names and schedules.

"Crimea's anti-extremism center should immediately cease its harassment of regional news outlets and reporters and withdraw its accusations and demands against ATR," said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Research Associate Muzaffar Suleymanov. "Authorities should stop repressing the regional media and allow journalists to fulfill their public duty by reporting on official actions."

The letter cited the Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor as saying that ATR "persistently fosters an idea on alleged repression based on national and ethnic grounds; contributes to developing anti-Russian public sentiment; [and] intentionally incites Crimean Tatars to distrust of authorities and their actions, which indirectly creates the threat of extremist activity."