Among the countries jeopardizing freedom of speech, OSCE points out Azerbaijan, Russian and Ukraine, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović said speaking at a two-day conference “Journalists’ safety, Media Freedom and Pluralism in Times of Conflict” in OSCE’s Vienna headquarters, according to the Azerbaijani information agency Turan.
She said the governments of various countries must put an end to media manipulations. The world situation is characterized by the attack of corrupt regimes on freedom of expression, she added. Mijatovic called propaganda “a scar on the face of journalism,” stressing the importance of countering it in modern terms.
The Assistant UN Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Shemonovich cited data from journalists’ organizations as estimating that approximately half of the journalists killed in the world have lost their lives outside war zones.
On June 16, during the 29th session of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, came up with a statement calling on a number of post-Soviet countries to give up cracking down on NGOs and activists. He spoke up for the prisoners in Azerbaijan and condemned the draft laws introduced in several Central Asian countries targeting NGOs, UN website reports.
He further drew attention to the situation in Azerbaijan and said he was troubled by the reports about the violation of the right of fair trial and the cases of long-term pretrial detentions in that country. “I urge the authorities to release those having health problems on humanitarian grounds, as well as drop charges against those jailed just for exercising their rights,” the High Commissioner said.
The Chair of the Committee on Democracy and Human Rights of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Isabel Santos, commended Azerbaijani authorities’ decision to allow the human rights defender Emin Huseynov to leave the country. “It is good news that Emin Huseynov was allowed to leave Azerbaijan. I commend Switzerland’s determination to make it possible. Still, it is also a sad day as the civil society leaders are forced to leave the country under the authorities’ pressure,” Santos declared.
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