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OSCE: Freedom of Media Vital for Democracy and Stability

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, October 24
Last Wednesday Frontline Georgia hosted Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media to Georgia. The office working on enhancing young journalists to act freely in the framework of media ethics explains that “no society can hope to develop democratically without the free expression, publication and distribution of ideas and opinions”. Encouraging governments to ensure a healthy media environment in their countries, the OSCE Representative to Georgia stressed the necessity of allowing journalists to access information from various state or public institutions without any problems.

“I know the situation is not rosy even in leading countries like the UK, Norway, Sweden, but this is definitely the subject we criticize governments on in order to change something,” Mijatovic told the students of Journalism and Media management of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA). “That’s why this office is called inter-governmental because I’m not representing an NGO – I work with NGOs, governments, but stand in the middle supporting civil society,” she added.

Democratic societies, according to the OSCE, can only function sustainably when people are well informed, can access and share information freely and can debate opposing ideas. But this all can be achieved by freedom of the media which plays an essential role in protecting democracy, peace and stability in each country. “You can decide what you will report on, but if you chose to be courageous, you should be an eye-opener for society,” Mijatovic said explaining the importance of journalism, which should always give real facts to their citizens.

The rights of journalists are not very well protected around the world, the number of murders and discrimination is significant which makes the profession quite dangerous. But state security, impartiality of editorial policy, laws protecting media, and personal ethics encourage young journalists to overcome all the possible obstacles and serve the truth. In modern society where the internet has promoted social media, a platform for spreading various opinions about issues, the protection of human rights should become the main principle for each developing country. A free media that is not controlled or influenced by the government provides a free exchange of views, both domestically and across borders.