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Free Expression in the Age of Security Threats

Updated: Dec 4, 2018

Interview / I talk to Dunja Mijatović, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media.

In January 2018 Dunja Mijatović was elected Commissioner for Human Rights by the Parliamentary Assembly and started the position in April 2018.

In November 1997, four years before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center prompted the war on terror, the participating states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) established a mandate on the representation of freedom of the media. The mandate outlines the OSCE’s commitment to freedom of expression as a “fundamental and internationally recognized human right” and to “free, independent and pluralistic media” as an “essential” component of a “free and open society and accountable systems of government,” and it designates an OSCE representative to ensure compliance with these principles. According to the mandate, the Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFoM) is charged with concentrating “on rapid response to serious non-compliance,” and, in the case of serious non-compliance allegations, is to “seek direct contacts, in an appropriate manner, with the participating State and with other parties concerned, assess the facts, assist the participating State, and contribute to the resolution of the issue.”

In January 2016, two months before the end of Mijatović’s six-year tenure, I interviewed her over Skype about her career and the transformation of the global media landscape. She expressed her dismay at the rapid decline in media freedom she had witnessed since taking office in 2010.

In late March that year, the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe agreed to extend Mijatović’s term for an additional year, since no consensus on her replacement had been reached.

Read the interview in the Summer 2016 issue of Harriman Magazine.


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