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22. 05. 2015

Media in region "still controlled" - OSCE representative

22.5.2015. (Tanjug, B92) - The key problem in the Western Balkans is that regional countries "have not yet overcome the system of controlling the media," says Dunja Mijatovic.

The OSCE media freedom representative also believes that "the main threats to media freedom in the OSCE countries are the increasingly frequent attacks on journalists and the attempts to filter out content on the internet and block access to it."

Speaking for the European Western Balkans website, Mijatovic stated that the scale of the problem of media freedom varies from region to region, but the essence remains the safety of journalists and the freedom on the internet.

"The main problem that prevails in the Western Balkans is that the region has not yet overcome the legacy of the previous system. By that I mean, controlling the media," she said.

According to the OSCE official, some positive steps have been observed in Macedonia when the first press council was established, and in Montenegro that is now drafting the code of ethics of journalists.

"I am also aware that there are efforts, led by the Council of Europe, to formalize a network of self-regulatory bodies in Southeast Europe which, in my opinion, could significantly improve the quality of journalism and solidarity among journalists in the region. I am awaiting the implementation," said Mijatovic.

Another positive step is the formation of independent commissions that monitor investigations into murders of journalists, she noted.

"However, there is no way to replace the responsibility of state institutions and the sorely needed political will and effort to bring the murderers and those who ordered the horrific attacks on the media to justice. Safety of journalists will always be a priority for my office," said Mijatovic.

She added the attack on the editorial board of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris earlier this year was "an unprecedented assault on freedom of speech and freedom of the media."

"I think we will be facing the consequences of that terrible attack for a long time," Mijatovic said, and concluded:

"I believe that the best response is continued expression of the right to freedom of expression without any restraint or self-censorship."


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