OSCE to focus on media freedom and safety

  • 2010-10-06
  • TBT Staff

Norkus (right) made the comments as Lithuania prepares to take over chairmanship of the organization.

VILNIUS -- Lithuania’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Renatas Norkus has said countries in the organization need to focus on ensuring freedom of the press and the safety of journalists.

“The OSCE countries should pay attention to the impact of a rapidly developing new internet media and technology on the media freedom and pluralism. They should also not restrict freedom of expression on the internet by passing new laws to deal with the challenges that are arising due to new technology,” Norkus said.

Lithuania’s upcoming OSCE chairmanship also intends to emphasize the importance of independent human rights institutions for strengthening democracy, a press release from the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Today, many countries already have offices of the ombudsman or national human rights commissions. However, according to Norkus, it is necessary to ensure that these institutions would operate effectively, be politically independent and would work with civil society more actively, and that they would submit recommendations for the improvement of human rights policy, the press release said.

The comments came at a major Review Conference in Poland. With several hundred participants from governments, civil society and international organizations, the Review Conference in Warsaw is Europe’s largest human rights event in 2010.