Bulgarian journalist Christo Grozev has claimed he and his family have been “banned” from attending the Baftas on Sunday due to “a public security risk”.
The investigative journalist features in the film Navalny, which is nominated in the best documentary category.
The film explores the story of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and events related to his 2020 poisoning, and sees Mr Grozev explain how he and fellow investigative journalist Maria Pevchikh revealed the details of the poisoning plot that indicated involvement from Russia.
Mr Grozev wrote on Twitter on Friday: “I was surprised to discover that my whole family and I have all been banned by British police from attending this weekend’s Bafta awards where the documentary #Navalny is nominated. The reason stated: we ‘represent a public security risk’.
“I understand the need to keep the public safe (although I don’t understand how my son or teenage daughter constitute risk to the public). But moments like this show the growing dangers to independent journalists around the world.
“These dangers don’t stem just from murderous dictators, but also from having journalists’ voices hushed – instead of amplified – by the civilised world they are trying to serve.”
In response to Mr Grozev’s online remarks, the Metropolitan Police said that police forces generally “do not and cannot” ban individuals from attending events and that decisions about attendance was down to organisers.
“We cannot comment on the safety of an individual or the advice they may have been given,” the statement read.
“However, the situation that journalists face around the world and the fact that some journalists face the hostile intentions of foreign states whilst in the UK is a reality that we are absolutely concerned with.
“We are committed to working with our intelligence partners to investigate these threats and to take other steps to ensure the safety of those concerned.”
The Met added: “Despite our efforts, on protective security and on investigations, we recognise the impact of those threats on those affected.
“The responsibility for such threats and their potential impact on the wider public lies with the hostile state actors behind them and we have significantly increased the resources applied to bearing down on those.
“More generally, police do not and cannot ban anyone from attending a private event. Decisions about the attendance at an event is a matter for the event organisers.
“We recognise that our advice can mean organisers have difficult choices to make when deciding how best to mitigate any risks to the security of their event, and we are grateful for the ongoing engagement of Bafta.”
Grozev is the lead Russia investigator with Bellingcat – an investigative journalism group specialising in fact-checking and use of open source intelligence and social media investigation techniques.
In response to Grozev’s series of tweets, Tory MP and chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Alicia Kearns tweeted: “I’ve raised with ministers – you are not the security risk.”
In a statement given to the PA news agency regarding security at Sunday’s ceremony, Bafta said: “The safety of all our guests and staff at the ceremony is always our highest priority, and we have robust and appropriate security arrangements in place every year.”
Bafta also confirmed that Diane Becker, Shane Boris, Melanie Miller and Odessa Rae will be attending the event as nominees for Navalny.
Grozev is not currently publicly listed as attending.
The Bafta awards ceremony is set to take place at London’s Southbank Centre on February 19.