OSCE Media Freedom Representative calls on Tajik authorities to address various media freedom issues
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The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, raised several media freedom issues during her official visit to Tajikistan between October 3 and October 7, 2022.
A statement released by the OSCE on October 7 says Ms. Ribeiro met with Deputy Minister of Culture Davlat Safarzoda, First Deputy Prosecutor-General Abdughaffor Hikmatullozoda and Deputy Ombudsperson Mijgona Bobojonzoda.
At those meetings, she reportedly discussed various media freedom obstacles in the country, such as physical and legal safety of journalists – with particular focus on online safety of female journalists – media regulation, accreditation of media workers, access to information, countering violent extremism and terrorism as well as removal of any restrictions on freedom of the media that do not comply with the country’s OSCE and other international commitments. The Representative also met journalists, media rights advocates and members of the diplomatic corps.
“I am very much concerned about the high number of imprisoned journalists in Tajikistan and the lengthy prison sentences against them. Such practices strongly hinder the work of media professionals in the country, have a strong chilling effect and create self-censorship. I urge the authorities to enable favorable working conditions for all journalists in the country,” said Ribeiro, adding that freedom of the media, as one of our democratic pillars is crucially important for the well-being of all countries and societies, according to the statement.
During the visit, Representative Ribeiro also expressed great discontent that journalist Abdullo Ghurbati was sentenced to 7.5 years in a high security colony. She stressed the necessity for the authorities of Tajikistan to fully align their laws, and the application thereof with the international media freedom standards.
“I encourage the authorities to step up their efforts in addressing media related challenges in accordance with the OSCE media freedom commitments. In line with my mandate, I remain ready to provide any necessary support and constructively work with the authorities as well as other media stakeholders in the country,” Ms. Ribeiro concluded.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. He provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments.