16th South Caucasus Media Conference - Strengthening media freedom and safety of journalists in a changing environment

Published in Society
Wednesday, 09 October 2019 08:54

The 16th South Caucasus Media Conference titled "Strengthening media freedom and safety of journalists in a changing environment" will be held in Tbilisi on 9-10 October 2019.

The conference will gather participants from Armenia and Azerbaijan and Georgia representing the public authorities, media, journalists' associations, civil society, academia, and international experts to discuss the issues of the regulatory frameworks, safe working environment, and new media technologies.

The event will offer four plenary sessions providing an overview of media freedom developments in the region, as well as focus on news creation, quality journalism and distribution of media in the age of digital reporting; the safety of journalists offline and online in times of political change; and the regulatory environment for media freedom and media pluralism.

The working languages will be English and Russian with simultaneous interpretation.

The event will take place at the Hotel Marriott Courtyard Tbilisi.

South Caucasus conference remains an important forum for discussing media freedom challenges in the region, says OSCE Representative

Published in Society
Thursday, 07 July 2016 15:53

TBILISI, 7 July 2016 – Multi-faceted challenges to free media and the freedom of expression were the focus of a two-day discussion at the 13th OSCE South Caucasus Media Conference, organized by the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media that concluded today in Tbilisi, Georgia.

As in the past, the annual event brought together more than 80 media experts, civil society and government representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, along with experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom, to discuss issues affecting media freedom in the South Caucasus region.

In particular the participants exchanged views concerning the issues of safety and security of media workers online and offline; the influence of the Internet on the changing media landscape; and, content regulation in conflict-affected regions, including the legal implications and professional standards of journalists.

“Journalism continues to face numerous challenges today, including those related to safety and impunity, as well as the issues emanating from the regional conflicts,” said OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović. “At the same time, the new forms of media and reporting practices provide new opportunities for freedom of the media and free flow of information, and can be beneficial for building confidence among people.”

The participants also discussed the increased exploitation of the media for the spread of propaganda and underlined the need to develop effective tools to counter this phenomenon while preserving media pluralism and raising the professional and ethical standards of journalists.

At the end of the conference the participants adopted a set of recommendations addressed to the governments and the media community of the region, which will soon be available at www.osce.org/fom.

During her visit, Mijatović also met with the Chair of the Georgian Parliament David Usupashvili and Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze.

In her meetings the Representative again emphasized that Georgia has achieved substantial and widely recognized progress on free media and freedom of expression. She encouraged the authorities to preserve and enhance these exemplary achievements while noting the special importance of maintaining media pluralism and variety of voices in society ahead of parliamentary elections in October.

Mijatovic also positively noted the election of the remaining two members of the Public Service Broadcaster’s Supervisory Board in April 2016 which makes the broadcaster fully operational, a long-standing issue she has been raising with the authorities. However, the Representative stressed the need to continue supporting public broadcasting in the country, in order for citizens to fully benefit from a trusted source of objective and impartial information.

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.

OSCE Representative presents Report on Propaganda and Media Freedom

Published in Society
Friday, 27 November 2015 12:26

The destructive powers of propaganda and its root causes must be eliminated, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović said today when presenting a non-paper on propaganda and media freedom together with her assessment of the media freedom developments in the OSCE region in the past six months.

“These are trying times. Recent events across our region are fraying our nerves and testing our resolve,” Mijatović said. “It is exactly in times like these that we need to preserve our values, preserve our freedoms.”

Mijatović also stressed that 40 years ago in the Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE participating States committed to refrain from propaganda for war of aggression.

“A year ago at this very forum I first raised the issue of propaganda emanating from the conflict in and around Ukraine,” Mijatović said. “I called propaganda an ugly scar on the face of modern journalism and I called on governments to get out of the news business.”

She said her Office has been engaged in a campaign on several fronts in the past 12 months to attack the root causes of propaganda, including considerable time and resources spent on working with Russian and Ukrainian journalists in confidence-building measures designed to bridge the gap between them, and training for young journalists from the two states on topics such as ethics in journalism.

“Ignorance, hate, hostility and other consequences of propaganda are imminent threats to journalism and free media and we need to put more resources in fighting these threats,” Mijatović said. “Today I present another element that is part of my Office’s campaign targeting this issue, a non-paper on propaganda and freedom of the media.”

Developed by the Representative’s Office, the non-paper (available a twww.osce.org/fom/203926) offers an in-depth look at the legal and historical basis against propaganda, and presents the Representative’s position on propaganda and freedom of the media.

“Propaganda for war and hatred is effective only in environments where governments control media and silently support hate speech. A resilient, free media system is an antidote to hatred,” Mijatović said. “This treatise will hopefully serve as a resource for the understanding of the legal and historical basis for the case against propaganda.”

Mijatović also said her Office kept a close eye on the media freedom developments in the OSCE region during the past reporting period, issuing more than 70 public statements addressing primarily issues like journalists’ safety, Internet freedom and media laws.

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

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.

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