In a response to the report on press freedom by the OSCE's Representative On Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, the United States cited "worrying trends regarding media freedom" in the OSCE region.
The response expresses particular concern about persistent violence and intimidation targeting journalists. As recent examples, it cites the murder of Dagestani editor Gadzhimurad Kamalov, the attack on Montenegro journalist Livera Lakic, and the defamation campaign against RFE/RL Azeri freelancer Khadija Ismayilova.
The statement takes aim at the misuse by many member governments of the term "extremist" to restrict Internet freedom and the free flow of information. Among those singled out for criticism are: Tajikistan, for interfering with Facebook and blocking independent news sites; Kazakhstan, for blocking blogging platforms LiveJournal and LiveInternet and Internet-based TV broadcaster StanTV, and routinely blocking websites critical of government authorities; and Kyrgyzstan, for continuing to block access to the website Fergana.ru.
The statement highlights continuing harassment of independent journalists and bloggers by authorities in Belarus, and calls on the court in Kyrgyzstan to consider the country's commitments to freedom of expression when issuing the verdict in the case of online commentator Vladimir Farafonov.
For the full response, click here