OSCE: Pressure on journalists unacceptable

Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE's media freedom representative, says she has regular contacts with Serbian authorities although they "don't always see eye to eye."

Source: Tanjug

Mijatovic told Serbian reporters in Vienna that she does not contest the fact politicians have the right to their own point of view, but added that likewise she will not budge on the remarks about the violation of freedom of the media in certain cases.

Pressure on journalists is unacceptable, and heated debates between the authorities and journalists are not unusual for any democratic society, Mijatovic said, in the wake of a controversy involving the reporting of an EU-funded publication and the Serbian prime minister's reaction.

As for the key topics that her sector will deal with this year, MIjatovic underlined that this will still be the situation with the media and journalists in Ukraine, adding that the case of Charlie Hebdo has given a new dimension to the threats to freedom of the media, primarily reporters and their families.

Ukraine is a topic that definitely has a great impact on freedom of the media and expression, not only in ex-Soviet countries, but also much broader, she said adding that the threats to journalists and their families did not spare the Balkans as well.

Speaking about censorship, MIjatovic said that there is no country in which there are not at least signs of censorship.

No day passes without a case that has at least an indication of censorship, and this refers to all countries under our monitoring. This is a situation which depends on numerous factors that are typical of a certain country and society and also journalists themselves, Mijatovic said.

Asked why her team did not react to the cancelling of certain programs in Serbia, such as TV talk show Utisak Nedelje, Mijatovic said that this is a matter of the editorial policy of certain media, and that her organization does not deal with that sort of issues.

Changes to program schedules and cancelling of shows are not in our mandate, it is impossible that we react to every show that is taken off the air and analyze accordingly whether there has been any violation of freedom of the media, she said.

Mijatovic assessed positively the reaction of the civil society and public in Serbia that expressed their opinion about cancelling of certain shows.

Addressing the Serbian authorities and governments in all 57 countries that are covered by the OSCE, Mijatovic said that she will never change her position and that she will always defend freedom of the media and journalists, even if that would entail open and unpleasant talks with politicians.

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