The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, stated today that "I clearly see an urgent need to stand by journalists, journalism and a free and independent media".
In her speech at the conference "Journalism in times of crisis", held in Tirana, attended by Prime Minister Edi Rama, Ribeiro said that this year the media conference in times of crisis seeks to reaffirm the importance of journalism as an essential public good and a key pillar of democratic societies. "
"Was last Friday a good day or a bad day for media freedom, maybe one could say good day, the day when journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Moratov rightly received the Nobel Peace Prize for their hard work and the relentless protection of media freedom. A good day because the Nobel Committee specifically referred to freedom of expression and all those people supported this fundamental right in a world where democracy and freedom of the press increasingly face difficult conditions.
A sad sign of our times, one might say, where strong, independent and credible journalists are often deprived of serving the public interest to contribute to a more informed and active citizen as guardians who hold those in power accountable for to provide a pluralistic media landscape, "Ribeiro said.
This award, she continued, is necessary to emphasize once again that the ability of journalists to do their job is threatened by a series of new and old challenges that intertwine and that have put journalists in an increasingly problematic position and this is more true than ever.
"Throughout the OSCE region, we face an increasingly hostile environment towards the media. There is a fragile public trust and a growing anti-media sentiment aggravated by information circulating at breakneck speed and stretching tremendously. This negative expectation is combined with growing violence, harassment and pressure, especially against those investigating corruption cases and other problems in the public and private sectors. "On the Internet we are witnessing dangerous developments, especially those targeting women journalists, who continue to face threats that are gender specific and related abuses," said Ribeiro.
According to her, these tendencies have a dramatic effect on activities of public interest, create a climate of fear and self-censorship, threaten journalism, democratic functions and deprive the public of the essential information they need in order to fully participate in our societies.
"All of these deserve our continued attention and commitment. "We need to strongly promote an independent media and support journalism of public interest in all media channels, be they radio, television, print and digital media platforms," she said.