"Destructive powers of propaganda must be eliminated"

The destructive powers of propaganda and its root causes must be eliminated, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic has said.

Source: B92

Mijatovic made the remarks on Thursday while presenting a non-paper on propaganda and media freedom together with her assessment of the media freedom developments in the OSCE region in the past six months.

“These are trying times. Recent events across our region are fraying our nerves and testing our resolve. It is exactly in times like these that we need to preserve our values, preserve our freedoms," OSCE said in a statement.

According this, Mijatovic "also stressed that 40 years ago in the Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE participating states committed to refrain from propaganda for war of aggression," and added:

“A year ago at this very forum I first raised the issue of propaganda emanating from the conflict in and around Ukraine. I called propaganda an ugly scar on the face of modern journalism and I called on governments to get out of the news business.”

She said her office has been engaged in a campaign on several fronts in the past twelve months "to attack the root causes of propaganda, including considerable time and resources spent on working with Russian and Ukrainian journalists in confidence-building measures designed to bridge the gap between them, and training for young journalists from the two states on topics such as ethics in journalism."

“Ignorance, hate, hostility and other consequences of propaganda are imminent threats to journalism and free media and we need to put more resources in fighting these threats. Today I present another element that is part of my office’s campaign targeting this issue, a non-paper on propaganda and freedom of the media," said Mijatovic.

Developed by the Representative’s Office, the non-paper offers an in-depth look at the legal and historical basis against propaganda, and presents the representative’s position on propaganda and freedom of the media, the OSCE statement said, adding:

“Propaganda for war and hatred is effective only in environments where governments control media and silently support hate speech. A resilient, free media system is an antidote to hatred. This treatise will hopefully serve as a resource for the understanding of the legal and historical basis for the case against propaganda.”

Mijatovic also said her office "kept a close eye on the media freedom developments in the OSCE region during the past reporting period, issuing more than 70 public statements addressing primarily issues like journalists’ safety, internet freedom and media laws."

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