The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Miklos Haraszti, presented a special report today on the administrative problems journalists have recently faced in several countries of the OSCE region. The paper, Accreditation of Journalists in the OSCE area: Observations and Recommendations, was presented to the OSCE Permanent Council, the Organization's main decision-making body, Trend reports.
"A smooth and helpful accreditation for the media was one of the first jointly accepted commitments of the Helsinki process 30 years ago," said Miklos Haraszti. "We have observed a growing number of cases in different OSCE participating States where the misuse of accreditation has prevented coverage of events deemed to be of public interest. Misunderstandings over the function of accreditation, and its discriminative use by authorities, prevent many domestic and foreign journalists from covering important events or simply working as journalists."
The OSCE Commissar mentions concrete cases fixed in Uzbekistan, Belarus, and the United State (obligatory issue of I-VIZA for journalists), Russia, Turkmenistan, Canada and Ukraine.
The report examines specific cases and offers concrete recommendations to the 56 OSCE participating States to help them improve the handling of accreditation. It points out that accreditation should not be the basis on which government bodies decide whether to allow a particular journalist to attend and cover a public event, and states that the threat of revocation of accreditation should not be used as a means to control the content of critical reporting.