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Attacks On Journalists And Propaganda Remain Threats To Free Media

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: OSCE}

Attacks on journalists and increasing propaganda remain threats to free media, OSCE Representative tells participating States

VIENNA, 18 June 2015 – With attacks on journalists rising at a rapid pace and the proliferation of propaganda growing, journalism itself is under attack, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović told the Permanent Council today as she reported on recent media freedom developments in the OSCE region.

“Members of the media must be able to research, write and publish their stories without fear of reprisal,” Mijatović said. “But threats and violence against journalists remain an effective way to silence critical voices and restrict the basic human right of free expression. Unfortunately, the past six months have been no exception.”

Mijatović said that her Office reported on 45 attacks on the media since November 2014 that resulted in death, personal injury or property damage.

“For journalists physical violence is commonplace. Have we become so accepting of reporters being assaulted and shot at that it no longer has an effect on us? Have we grown weary of hearing about their troubles? Do we now just accept violence as being part of the job?” Mijatović asked the representatives of participating States.

The Representative pointed to her Office’s recent conference “Journalists’ safety, media freedom and pluralism in times of conflict,” one of the largest in OSCE history with more than 400 participants, as one way to address the deteriorating situation of journalists’ safety and the mounting threat of propaganda.

Mijatović also reminded the Permanent Council that the principles of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 are as valid today as 40 years ago.

“As we approach the 40th anniversary of this key document which eventually led to the founding of our Organization, we should take note that ending the use of propaganda is enshrined in the basic principles of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975,” Mijatović said.

The Representative stressed the need to include the full spectrum of issues affecting free media.

“We need to remember the importance of the core activities of this Office, which includes working on broader issues across the spectrum,” Mijatović said. “That includes our initiative to combat violence against women journalists working online, and our efforts to explore and bring to light what we call Open Journalism, to involve the participating States and provide them with an understanding of the future of journalism.” 

The report to the Permanent Council, including the Representative’s remarks, is available at www.osce.org/fom/165071.  

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.

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