24.03.2016 – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) welcomes the extension of Dunja Mijatovic’s mandate as the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. The Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe has agreed to keep Mijatovic in office for another year, as was announced on Wednesday by the OSCE chairman-in-office, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (www.osce.org/cio/229656).
“This decision prevents an important voice for press freedom in Europe and beyond from falling silent for the time being”, said RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire. “For all those caring about free media, it is good news that the German OSCE presidency has succeeded in preventing a vacancy of this important post.”
Mijatovic’s mandate would have run out regularly on 10 March after two periods in office. Because the 57 member states of the OSCE have so far not been able to agree on a successor, the post of the Representative on Freedom of the Media was at risk of staying vacant until an agreement is reached (http://t1p.de/i7gg). A decision is difficult to reach since the OSCE statutes demand unanimity. Germany currently holds the rotating OSCE presidency, and since the start of the year, the German Foreign Office has put considerable efforts into finding a candidate palatable to all member states.
The Representative on Freedom of the Media is mandated to observe media developments as part of an early warning function and helping OSCE states abide by their commitments to freedom of expression and free media. This includes, inter alia, efforts to ensure the safety of journalists, assist with the development of media pluralism, promote decriminalization of defamation, promote internet freedom and provide expert opinions on media regulation and legislation (www.osce.org/fom).