Representative on Freedom of the Media


The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media works to assist governments in the furthering of free, independent, and pluralistic media.


Role

Teresa Ribeiro, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal)

Teresa Ribeiro, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal)

The role of the Representative is to help OSCE pS comply with their media-freedom commitments; to provide early warning on violations of freedom of expression, and to observe relevant media development in all pS in order to advocate and promote full compliance with OSCE principles and commitments regarding freedom of expression and free media.


The 1997 PC Decision established the RFOM Independent Office with the following mandate: 


  • Monitoring relevant media development in all pS and advocate and promote full compliance with relevant OSCE principles and commitments

  • Assisting pS in furthering of free, independent and pluralistic media

  • Rapid response to non-compliance with OSCE principles

  • Close co-operation with OSCE structures as well as other IOs and civil society organizations


The Office acts as a watchdog, reporting on systematic violations of media freedom in participating states; and identifying and publicizing attacks on journalists, including “disappearances” and killings in an apparent effort to silence outspoken journalists. 


The RFOM also communicates directly and confidentially with pS on media-freedom violations. Another important aspect of his/her work is to help pS draft or amend proposed media-related legislation by commissioning legal reviews of the said legislation, and if need be, issue recommendations on how they can be improved to fully comply with international media-freedom standards. The office conducts seminars to inform journalists, government officials, and NGOs about international standards for protecting a free media.


Activities

RFOM activities include:

Disinformation, Propaganda, “Fake News”, and Hate Speech: to encourage media self-regulation and professional standards; to ensure free media and media plurality; invest in media literacy for citizens to make informed choices; reform state media into genuine public service broadcasting; to stop manipulating media, and psychological and information wars

New Security Challenges: national security policies may threaten freedom of expression and freedom of the media by: targeting journalists and others, legitimizing state surveillance, threatening protection of sources, weakening digital security tools, and by being so broad as to catch a host of types of information that the public should have access to

Pluralism in the Digital Age: to promote an open and free media landscape with a free market of divergent ideas and opinions, as a key element of and precondition for democratic society

 

Tribute to Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova in Bratislava, killed on 21 February 2018 (OSCE)

Tribute to Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova; in Bratislava, killed on 21 February 2018 (OSCE)

Safety of Journalists: addressing attacks on journalists and media property, physical violence, arbitrary police action, fear and intimidation, psychological pressures, online harassment, including specific gender related threats to female journalists.

Limitations


The RFoM will not communicate with and will not acknowledge communications from any individual or organization carrying out or publicly condoning acts of terrorism or violence.