A fundamental commitment by the participating states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, is to guarantee freedom of expression. This includes the rights of individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, whether orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media that a person may choose. Unfortunately, said U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE Daniel Baer, this commitment is not being honored for many persons within the OSCE community.
In Russia, a number of journalists have been murdered for their work over the last decade, but few of the perpetrators are caught or prosecuted. The United States calls on that country’s government to bring to justice those responsible.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed into effect amendments to the Law on Mass Media, which would reduce the limit on foreign ownership of media outlets from 50 percent to 20 percent. This new law is likely to further constrict the media landscape in Russia that is already dominated by a small group of media elites closely tied to the government.
In Turkey, the U.S. commends the government for its partial annulment of a law tightening state authority over the Internet. The U.S. continues to urge the government of Turkey to uphold the universal right to freedom of expression in all domains, including the Internet.
It is time for all OSCE participating states to live up to their commitments and respect and uphold freedom of expression.