Times of crisis underline importance of good and timely information, OSCE PA leaders say ahead of World Press Freedom Day

COPENHAGEN, 2 May 2020 – Governments must recommit to upholding principles of press freedom and ensuring full compliance with international commitments even in extraordinary times, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly leaders said ahead of World Press Freedom Day, being observed Sunday. They applauded the work of journalists working under difficult circumstances and highlighted the importance of ensuring high ethical standards and professionalism in the media.

“Journalists, bloggers and publishers continue to be persecuted around the OSCE area and too many are in prison under false pretenses,” said OSCE PA Vice-President and Rapporteur of the human rights committee, Kari Henriksen (MP, Norway). “Unfortunately, this demonstrates that journalism remains a dangerous profession. I remind governments that principles of media freedom are non-negotiable and should apply equally to both traditional journalism and new technologies.”

Henriksen applauded the important work being carried out by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, who promotes freedom of expression and free media, and responds to breaches of OSCE commitments.

OSCE PA Special Rapporteur on Disinformation and Propaganda Oscar Mina (MP, San Marino) stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic serves as a reminder of the importance of professional journalism to offer timely and accurate information to citizens across the OSCE area.

“In recent months, media consumption has increased as people have been hungry for relevant information on issues related to public health and updates on lockdowns in many countries,” Mina said. “This reminds us both of the importance of media freedom, but also of upholding professional standards, including showing due diligence on confirming facts and preventing the spread of false information.”

Governments, parliaments, private companies and international organizations should work to guarantee that accurate and trustworthy information is accessible and widely disseminated, Mina said, reiterating a statement he issued in March.

OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella stressed the importance of protecting the safety of journalists who work in conflict zones because their work is precious to keep the general public informed about the realities on the ground where people are most affected.

SG Montella recalled that 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of Shefki Popova, a Rilindja journalist who was killed at his doorstep in his hometown of Vucitrn, Kosovo. “Shefki Popova was a courageous man who dedicated his professional life to honest reporting in a very difficult conflict zone,” Montella said. “When he was assassinated he was working as a consultant for my OSCE field office and on this day we honour his sacrifice to improve the life of his fellow citizens.”

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993 and is commemorated each year on 3 May, which is the anniversary of the adoption of a set of press freedom principles known as the Declaration of Windhoek.



Нэт Пэрри

Начальник отдела коммуникаций и прессы

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