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    Russian FM Says OSCE Journalism Resolution Could Decrease Reporters' Risks

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    MILAN/MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) unanimously agreed on the document on protection of journalists, Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi said on Friday.

    "After 27 years, the OSCE has now reached the unanimous agreement, it has unanimity on important document on the safety of journalists, on media pluralism. Indeed on the personal physical security of journalists who often run risks in doing their work. Because media freedom is such important value for us it is something we have sort to defend," Milanesi said at the final press conference of the 25th OSCE Ministerial Council in Milan.

    Journalists’ safety has been a vibrant issue on the international agenda lately. The detention of Kirill Vyshinsky, the head of the RIA Novosti Ukraine news portal, in Kiev has prompted widespread criticism by journalists' rights groups, which said that such actions were unacceptable in a democratic society.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Vyshinsky's arrest was politically motivated, adding that the incident demonstrated an unprecedented and unacceptable policy of Ukrainian authorities targeting journalists doing their jobs. The Russian Foreign Ministry has lodged protests to Kiev, calling on the incumbent authorities to stop its crackdown on media.

    Harlem Desir, the representative on freedom of the media at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), has also expressed his concern over Ukraine's actions toward Vyshinsky and called for the journalist's release, stressing that all OSCE members had pledged to create the necessary conditions to allow journalists to work freely.

    READ MORE: Vyshinsky's Pre-Trial Detention in Ukraine: OSCE Expresses 'Serious Concern'

    A number of EU member states, including Germany and Portugal, have also condemned Kiev's actions.

    Another case that has recently made headlines involves Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. After weeks of denials, the Saudi chief prosecutor admitted that the US-based Washington Post columnist had been killed inside the diplomatic mission. The Saudi government claims he died as a result of a rogue operation.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said the recently adopted OSCE document on the protection of journalists reflects concerns about the illegal interference with journalists’ private lives.

    "Today, the OSCE Ministerial Council beat the odds. Despite the critical disintegration of the global community, the resolution on the safety of journalists was agreed upon for the first time. This was made possible due to the unprecedented efforts of the Russian side … [The document] expresses concerns over the deliberate and illegal infringement on journalists’ private lives, which can hamper their security," Zakharova wrote on Facebook late on Friday.

    When commenting on such interference in media workers' lives, Zakharova referred to the Ukrainian Mirotvorets website which had published personal details of journalists from a number of OSCE countries.

    The Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman added that the OSCE agreement "reflected concerns about the spread of the practice of conducting targeted campaigns against journalists in order to discredit them, particularly in the context of the actions of political leaders, officials and authorities to intimidate media workers and ignore violence against them".

    Zakharova noted the relevance of the OSCE agreement in the light of increasing pressure on journalists in a number of countries that identify themselves as the "old democracies."

    READ MORE: RT Journalist Injured in Shelling of Aleppo Hospital — RT Head Simonyan

    According to Zakharova, the document adopted by the OSCE Ministerial Council "stated concern about the introduction of restrictive measures against journalists which lead to increased risks posed to their security and restriction of freedom of expression."

    The diplomat explained that such actions against journalists ranged from stripping of or denying accreditation and introducing bans on entry to a country and deportation, to passing laws on purging the information space under the pretext of fighting propaganda.

    The OSCE agreement was linked to the UNSC Resolutions 1738 of 2006 and 2222 of 2015, which condemned violence against journalists during armed conflicts and ensured the media workers’ legal protection as civilians, Zakharova argued.

    The diplomat emphasized that the significance of this provision could not be overestimated since the number of journalists who died in the line of duty continued increasing.

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    Tags:
    safety, risks, resolution, journalism, OSCE, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, Maria Zakharova, EU, Russia
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