Freitag, 20.09.2019 18:13 Uhr

OSCE warns on violations of freedom of expression

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome/Vienna, 12.02.2019, 12:26 Uhr
Nachricht/Bericht: +++ Politik +++ Bericht 6159x gelesen

Rome/Vienna [ENA] 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. Every year, hundreds of journalists are attacked,imprisoned, or killed. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, on 11 February demanded

to drop criminal charges of supporting terrorism against journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva, and raised concern about decisions by a Russian court to fine two media channels in relation to this case. Prokopyeva is a journalist with Radio Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) and a contributor to various other media, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Russian Service.

On 6 February, law enforcement officers searched Prokopyeva’s apartment, seized her computers, phones and files. They arrested and interrogated the journalist on charges of “publicly justifying terrorism”. Prokopyeva has not been indicted but could face charges under Article 205.2(2) of the Russian criminal code, which penalizes the public justification of terrorism; if found guilty, she could face up to seven years in prison, the BBC's Russian service reported. An investigation and a search were also conducted at Radio Ekho Moskvy’s editorial office in Pskov.

On 6 and 7 February, the courts in Pskov fined Ekho Moskvy and the Pskovskaya Lenta Novostei media outlet about 2,000 and 2,700 euros respectively for Prokopyeva’s comments. “I call on the authorities to carefully review the case and drop the charges brought against Prokopyeva, who had no involvement in any terrorist activity. Reporting on a terrorist attack should not be assimilated to the justification of terrorism. I also call for her equipment to be returned without delay,” Désir wrote in a letter to the authorities.

Reportedly, the charge, punishable by a prison sentence of up to seven years, stems from Prokopyeva’s comments on the radio, when she expressed her views regarding a terrorist attack in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk in October 2018 and criticized the authorities. The transcript of the programme was also later published on Pskovskaya Lenta Novostei. “Journalists have the right to freely express views and opinions, including on issues that could be considered as controversial, sensitive, or offensive,” Désir said.

“Under no circumstances should media workers and media outlets be targeted in retaliation for their work.” Freedom of expression is also safeguarded by the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights The Representative expressed hope that the decisions to fine Ekho Moskvy and Pskovskaya Lenta Novostei will be overturned in an appeal.

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