US OSCE Mission: "Government harassment of independent media in Azerbaijan has increased"

US worry about the continuing attacks against journalists and media outlets in relation to their work across the OSCE region, with incidents in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, the Russia and Ukraine, according to the US OSCE Mission's response to the Regular Report by the organization's Representative on freedom of the media.

Imprisonment of journalists for their work remains a concern in several OSCE states.  A few states attempt to carve out exceptions to freedom of expression as applied to bloggers, Facebook posters, Tweeters, and other digital communicators.

"This is deeply distressing and preposterous in a world where everybody, journalists and non-journalists alike, routinely use digital technologies in the course of their daily life and work," US Charge d'Affaires in Vienna Mission Gary Robbins stated.

Azerbaijan, he emphasized, currently has several media figures in jail.  As of November 4, NGOs considered at least 10 journalists and bloggers to be political prisoners or detainees.

"Government harassment of independent media in Azerbaijan has also increased."

"We hope that the cooperative spirit shown by the Azerbaijani government in hosting [OSCE] Representative on freedom of the media events will eventually lead to broader cooperation in improving that country's increasingly hostile media environment," he noted.  -0-


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