Inspections of Russian media NGOs could affect media freedom, says OSCE representative
VIENNA, 9 April 2013 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović today voiced her concern about unannounced inspections of media NGOs in Russia. She called on the authorities to end these exceptional measures, and allow the NGOs to continue their essential work for the benefit of the media and the whole society.
“Media NGOs provide essential support to journalists and the whole media industry, promoting freedom of information, freedom of the media and freedom of expression. Any actions to intimidate them and interfere with their activities could impact on media freedom and create a chilling effect on those who champion freedom of the media,” Mijatović said.
Some of the most prominent NGOs in Russia continue to have their work impeded, in many cases severely interrupted, and have so far only been fined for minor violations. Affected NGOs include the Mass Media Defence Centre in Voronezh; Civil Control, the Institute of Regional Press, and the Foundation for Freedom of Information from St Petersburg; and the Institute for Development of Press (Siberia) in Novosibirsk.
“While all organizations need to work in line with relevant legislation, there is no need to put such pressure and unreasonable time constraints on these NGOs. I call on the authorities to show restraint so these media NGOs can continue their work on media freedom,” Mijatović concluded.