MEETING WITH THE OSCE REPRESENTATIVE ON FREEDOM OF THE MEDIA – SENIOR ADVISER GUNNAR VRANG AND ADVISER AIDAR BOTAGAROV

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IMG_9346On 22nd of July at 15:30 pm at Caucasus International University was held a video conference with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Senior Adviser Gunnar Vrang and Adviser Aidar Botagarov. The speakers gave a speech about media freedom and development in the context of OSCE work. The conference was organized and facilitated by the assistance of the Policy Support Officer at the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre – Corinne Lebelhomme. This was the first experience of conducting the conference in video format in the frameworks of the project Building OSCE Youth Network in Georgia.

The speakers started their speech by describing the structure and the functions of the OSCE Representative on freedom of the media. They described that the Representative’s activities can be divided into two groups: observing media developments as part of an early warning function and helping participating States abide by their commitments to freedom of expression and free media.

The first topics they talked about was the importance of the efforts to ensure the safety of journalists; assist with the development of media pluralism; combat hate speech while preserving freedom of expression; provide expert opinions on media regulation and legislation; promote Internet freedom; and assist with the process of switching from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Participants had an opportunity to clarify some aspects and policy of the OSCE work in this dimension. The first question was about OSCE activities in Georgia and South Caucasus region. Adviser answered that the Representative holds annual regional media conferences, bringing together journalists, representatives of civil society and government, as well as academics, to discuss current media freedom issues. This kind of regional meeting is regularly being held in South Caucasus too. He shared his experience of working in the South Caucasus Media Meeting with the participants. Participants were interested in the level of the media freedom in Georgia, on which the advisers answered that the level of developing of the media freedom in Georgia was pretty high.

The advisers underlined that situation in countries differs, but OSCE tries to have negotiations with each of them. OSCE gives recommendations about legislative reforms which will promote media freedom and it encourages human right protection.

The video conference was carried out in frameworks of the project “Building OSCE Youth Network”, which is carried out by the Helsinki Citizens Assembly Georgian National Committee in partnership with Caucasus International University and by the support of the OSCE.