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STATEMENT in Response to the Address of Mr. Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media as delivered by Mr. Vahe Gevorgyan, Deputy Permanent Representative

22.11.2018

 

STATEMENT

in Response to the Address of Mr. Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

 

as delivered by Mr. Vahe Gevorgyan, Deputy Permanent Representative, at the 1203rd Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council

November 22, 2018

 

Mr. Chair,

 

We would like to warmly welcome Mr. Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his substantial and informative report.

 

Armenia strongly supports the RFOM activities as an OSCE mandate, which can make significant change on the ground. Throughout recent years, Armenia achieved irreversible progress in upholding freedom of expression and media, which became very visible during the recent non-violent revolution in Armenia.

 

The authorities of Armenia, who have assumed leadership, as a result of expression of will of the people, pledged their strong adherence to all fundamental freedoms and particularly the freedom of media.

 

The freedom of media has many important aspects. The independence of the media is an absolute priority for the Armenian Government. To this end, the commitment of the Government to refrain from controlling the media outlets is essential in creating conducive framework for media independence.

 

It is obvious that independence of media is a challenge even in democratic societies. We will count on the continued advice and support of the RFOM to address effectively all challenges related to the free and independent media.

 

We are pleased that already in this stage we have been able to launch dialogue with the RFOM. We value frank and goal-oriented meetings undertaken in the framework of the recent visit, particularly with Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

 

The upcoming Parliamentary elections which, will take place on December 9, have already been marked by high level of pluralism and equal access of political forces to the media, including through public debates. The Performance of the Media throughout electoral cycle will be thoroughly assessed in order to identify further steps towards ensuring pluralistic, free and independent media in Armenia.

 

In conclusion, let me refer to some thematic points related to the safety of journalists.

 

We appreciate strong emphasis on combatting impunity for crimes committed against journalists. On many occasions for the last decade, the Armenian Delegation has raised the notable cases in this regard. We continue to believe that investigation into these prominent criminal cases should be done in credible, timely and non-selective manner.

 

The access of journalists to conflict areas is essential for providing information on possible human rights violations of people residing in conflict areas. Therefore, safety of journalists is particularly important throughout the conflict cycle.

 

Thank you.