Freedom of the Media in the OSCE Region
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, presided over this hearing on the freedom of the media in the OSCE region.
In 1997, when the OSCE Permanent Council created the Representative on Freedom of the Media, it declared: "Freedom of expression is a fundamental and internationally recognized human right and a basic component of a democratic society, and that free, independent, and pluralistic media are essential to a free and open society and accountable system of government."
In practical terms, a free media in a democratic society keeps citizens abreast of the decisions of their government and gives the citizenry the opportunity to make informed choices about the men and women who seek their permission to govern them.
The witnesses of the hearing spoke about the challenges of media freedom in the OSCE region, and particularly, in developments in Russia and Central Asia. They presented a survey of progress of this issue in the OSCE participating States, with a view toward negative trends or especially egregious cases or situation.
The Chairman was joined by Fatima Tlisova, a Russina indipendent Journalista; Nina Ognianova, coordinator for the Europe and Central Asia program in the Committee to protect Journalista; and Paula Schriefer, Director of Advocacy for Freedom House.