In her first regular report
to the OSCE’s permanent council, Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic declared the defense of journalists the fundamental mission of her office.
“Authorities have yet to understand that media are not their private property and that journalists have the right to scrutinize those who are elected …There is no true press freedom as long as journalists have to fear for their lives while performing their work,” she said in the July 29 statement.
There is no true press freedom as long as journalists have to fear for their lives while performing their work.
Defining priorities for the future, Mijatovic said her office will pay particular attention to “widely applied practices of legal persecution” of journalists, including the use of “media-freedom-unfriendly” laws that criminalize defamation, libel, insult and reporting on “taboo topics” and personalities, and the “outright framing of journalists on fabricated charges.” She cited the need to address issues raised by the digital switchover in broadcasting and to develop new approaches to safeguard the Internet, blogging and citizen journalism.
In her report, Mijatovic commended Armenia for decriminalizing defamation, making it only the 11th of 56 member states to do so. With regard to other OSCE commitments for media freedom, Armenia was also singled out for criticism, as were Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan in RFE/RL’s broadcasting region. (Click here
for Mijatovic’s recent statement on the disappearance of Ukrainian journalist Vasil Klymentyev
Mijatovic noted that she has received invitations from the governments of Albania, Belarus, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine to visit their countries.