OSCE: attack on media is attack on democracy

Photo: N1

STRUGA, 11.05.2018. – The OSCE representative on media freedom, Harlem Désir, said on Thursday that this field in South-Eastern Europe has been under attack and that it meant that the democracies in the regional countries were also endangered.

Désir, who was speaking at the opening of a media conference in the Macedonian town of Struga.

The two-day conference was organised by the OSCE representative in cooperation with six regional missions.

Désir said that free journalism was “the basis of strong democracy” and added that despite of that a Montenegrin reporter was wounded outside her home just for the job she did.

He visited Olivera Lakic in a Podgorica hospital where she was recovering from wounds she had suffered and expressed solidarity.

“She is a very brave reporter and this is not the first time she was attacked. In 2011, she got beaten up and all that because she wrote about corruption and crime. This and any other attack on journalists is an attack on democracy,” Désir said.

He added that the situation in Europe’s South-Eastern region regarding media freedom had deteriorated, that the journalists were subjected to violence, both physical and other types like intimidation and threats, saying it was not acceptable, especially because “the crimes went unpunished.”

“It’s unacceptable that after so many attacks the perpetrators and initiators are still unknown and not brought to justice,” Désir said, reminding the gathering of the murder of Belgrade media owner Slavko Curuvija in 1999, adding his killers were still unidentified.

He has said that the authorities in the region do not take seriously the threats the media and journalists are exposed to on a daily basis.

Désir added that the journalists also faced all kinds of economic, political and legal pressures aiming at keeping them silent.

He added that the freedom of media was threatened globally and that it could be seen in some of the most advanced democracies.

Nevertheless, he appealed to the regional media to remain critical as that was their main role. The participants to the conference will send a joint message of support to Lakic.

N1/Beta, Struga, 11/05/2018