by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the
International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1136th meeting of the OSCE
Permanent Council, 9 March 2017
in response to the report by Ms. Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative
on Freedom of the Media
delivery by the Delegation of Ukraine
1136th meeting of the Permanent Council,
9 March 2017
the Representative on Freedom of the Media, Ms. Dunja Mijatović, back to
the Permanent Council and thank her for the presentation on media related
issues across the OSCE region, her last one in this post.
recognizes the fundamental importance of freedom of expression, and of free,
independent and pluralistic media as a core element of democracy. We wish to
express high appreciation of our close cooperation with Ms. Mijatović in
addressing a variety of issues related to the implementation of the relevant OSCE
Ukrainian authorities have always given serious attention to all issues raised
by Ms. Dunja Mijatović in her reports and takes consistent measures on a
national level with a view to further enhancing freedom of the media and
strengthening the safety of journalists in line with the OSCE commitments.
the recent visit of Ms. Dunja Mijatović to Ukraine in February, her
participation in the international conference “Safety of Journalists: An
Imperative for Free Media, Freedom of Expression and Public Order” organized by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine together with the OSCE, as well as
other international organizations and national media associations in Kyiv.
Ms. Mijatović for her constant attention to numerous challenges facing the
media and journalists in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.
Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, illegally occupied by
Russia and certain areas of Donbas, where the hybrid Russian forces imposed
their de-facto control, experience severe restrictions on media freedom and
clamp-down on free journalism, including harassment and violence against
journalists. All independent media were forced to close and to leave the
We are very
concerned over the life and health of the Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena,
who remains detained by the occupying authorities in Crimea under the
trumped-up charges of “separatism”. We constantly urge the Russian occupation
authorities to immediately release him and stop detention of journalists under
encourage the Office of the Representative on Media Freedom to continue to take
all possible steps with a view to freeing the illegally detained journalists
and media professionals, monitoring situation and protecting the rights of
journalists in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol and in
the Donbas region of Ukraine.
country suffering from Russia’s aggression we regularly emphasize serious
concerns relation to significant restrictions of media freedom and freedom of
expression in Russia as such that together with the state propaganda create the
breeding ground for external aggression.
respective concerns are regularly expressed by international NGOs. Amnesty
International highlighted in its recently released 2016/2017 report that
“restrictions on rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful
assembly increased”. The report concludes that Russian “anti-extremism
legislation continued to be used excessively in violation of the right to
freedom of expression”. While significantly reducing the space for independent
and pluralistic media, the authorities strengthened the grip over state-owned
media transforming them into powerful instruments of state-driven propaganda.
facts testify to the dangers faced by journalists in Russia in the course of
their work, while reaction to crimes against journalists remains largely
inadequate. Let us recall just one example when exactly one year ago, on 9
March 2016, a group of Russian and foreign journalists was brutally attacked on
the way from Ingushetia to Chechnya, their minibus was burned down. This case
had been repeatedly raised in the Permanent Council, but the Russian delegation
could not provide any meaningful update on the investigation.
deeply concerned over the on-going ungrounded detention of the Ukrainian
citizen and journalist Roman Sushchenko in Moscow on trumped-up charges of
“espionage”. Roman Sushchenko suffers from being Ukrainian journalist and
defender of the freedom of speech, known for his exposure of Russia’s illegal
actions against Ukraine.
international media organizations, including the International and European
Federation of Journalists, the European Alliance of News Agencies and Reporters
without Borders have called on Russia to free the Ukrainian reporter.
We call on
the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media to use all
available instruments to facilitate his immediate release as well as to remain
fully seized of the issues threatening freedom of the media and expression in
first days of its aggression against Ukraine the Russian Federation uses mass
media as an instrument of the hybrid warfare. In this light we did not find
surprising the recent revelation of the Russian Defense Minister S.Shoygu about
the establishment within the Russian Army of the “forces of information
operations” designed for “wise, effective and competent propaganda” and that
“they have already proved their effectiveness”.
blatant violations by Russia of the OSCE Helsinki Final Act principles and
commitments, Ukraine will be guided by the interests of national security in
defending itself from the Russian information attacks. The provisions of
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights are clear in that
the efforts of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media aimed at
countering “fake news”, disinformation and propaganda, including by launching
the Joint declaration of the freedom of the media rapporteurs. We are convinced
that the OSCE commitments must be further developed to counter “fake news”,
disinformation and propaganda which stifle free and pluralistic media.
We must not
accept the view that disinformation is an alternative opinion.
this opportunity to thank you for your professionalism, dedication and indeed
tireless efforts, over the last seven years, in promoting across the OSCE area
an environment where the media can work freely, effectively and without fear.
Ms. Mijatović, your leadership and persistence as OSCE Representative on
Freedom of the Media. We look forward to continuing our close co-operation and
wish you every success in all your future endeavors.