DUSHANBE, 12 December 2012 – A workshop for judges and journalists on jurisdiction in defamation and insult lawsuits involving the media concluded today at the OSCE Office in Tajikistan.
The two-day workshop was organized by the OSCE Office jointly with the Council of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan. It took place against the backdrop of a series of civil and criminal defamation and libel lawsuits filed by public officials and agencies against a number of independent media outlets from 2010 through 2012.
Participants examined the evolution of conflicts related to defamation and discussed approaches to ensure respect for individual civil rights and to take account of the special role freedom of media and expression play in a democracy. They also discussed alternative mediation mechanisms inside and outside the judicial system, including Tajikistan's media self-regulation mechanism, established with OSCE support in 2009.
“OSCE principles and commitments set high standards for participating States in protecting and respecting media freedom and the free flow of information, and it is important to promote a dialogue on these issues in accordance with international and national legislative standards, to help ensure that journalists can report freely on issues of public interest,” said Michael Unland, Media Officer at the OSCE Office in Tajikistan. “This is especially important with regards to the judiciary, which has a key role to play in settling disputes.”
Mavluda Kalandarova, Deputy Head of the Council of Justice in Tajikistan, said: "Today's event for judges and media representatives aims to protect the human rights and freedoms of citizens in the country and is part of our continued efforts on the path of judicial and legal reform. Problems that exist in this area have an impact both on government agencies and on the media, and this workshop provided us with an opportunity to improve dialogue with journalists and discuss the issues together."
Unland added that the OSCE is committed to continuing its to support the inclusive dialogue on media defamation issues to help all stakeholders in the process better understand the balance of rights and responsibilities in such cases.