Addressing participants at the Conference on Journalists' Safety in the OSCE Region
in Vilnius, Lithuania, US State Department official Thomas Melia
underscored the responsibility of governments to ensure the safety of journalists in their country and foster an environment that is conducive to the functioning of independent and pluralistic media.
"Let me be clear: Governments bear the fundamental responsibility to ensure that journalists are free to practice their professions without interference or reprisal by state authorities. We must be frank about this basic governmental responsibility as an essential step in mustering the necessary political will – to combat violence against journalists from any quarter," Melia said. He called on all OSCE member states to fulfill their obligations to support and recognize media freedom, "to foster it, not muzzle it," with "No excuses and no delay."
We must be frank about this basic governmental responsibility as an essential step in mustering the necessary political will – to combat violence against journalists from any quarter.
In his remarks, Melia singled out the cases of Abdumalik Boboyev
, an Uzbek stringer for Voice of America, and Amangelen Shapudakov
, a contributor to Radio Free Europe's Turkmen service. He welcomed the Russian government's apprehension of the suspected "trigger man" in the 2006 murder of crusading Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and criticized the government of Belarus
for its ongoing attacks on independent media
A full transcript of the speech is here