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The 19th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly ended on 10 July with the adoption of the Oslo Declaration. The Oslo Declaration is available in English, French and Russian. The declaration contains the resolutions adopted by the 250 parliamentarians who participated in the Annual Session in Oslo.
The resolutions span a wide range of issues including the resolution by U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin aimed at strengthening press freedoms and the protection for investigative journalists across the 56-country OSCE region.
Petros Efthymiou(Greece) was elected as the Assembly’s new President.
The part of the Oslo Declaration on the protection of investigative journalists reads:
1. Recalling that in the 1999 Istanbul Document, our leaders stressed “that corruption poses a great threat to the OSCE’s shared values” affecting many aspects of the security, economic and human dimensions,
2. Emphasizing that at the Istanbul OSCE Summit the participating States pledged to strengthen their efforts to combat corruption and the conditions that foster it, and to promote a positive framework for good government practices and public integrity; make better use of existing international instruments and assist each other in their fight against corruption; and work with non-governmental organizations that are committed to a strong public and business consensus against corrupt practices,
3. Stressing the responsibility of the participating States to uphold the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right of the media to collect, report and disseminate information, news and opinions,
4. Recognizing that insult laws are often used to punish the utterance of truthful statements, as well as opinions, satire, invective, and even humour,
5. Underlining the unique and vital role played by independent media and investigative journalists in exposing corruption and thereby contributing to the strengthening of democratic society,
6. Recognizing that free and pluralistic media which enjoy maximum editorial independence from political and financial pressure have an important role to play in ensuring transparency,
7. Acutely aware that investigative journalists are frequently targeted by the authorities and others for harassment, administrative and judicial measures, including imprisonment, as well as violent attacks and murder because of their journalistic endeavours, and
8. Deeply concerned over impunity in cases involving violent attacks or the killing of journalists,
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
9. Declares its support for the vital work of investigative journalists aimed at strengthening democracy, human rights and the rule of law;
10. Calls upon the OSCE participating States to:
a. Ensure that their laws, regulations and practices and policies promote the free flow of information as well as the public’s access to information, including the use of the Internet and other modern communications technologies;
b. Repeal criminal defamation statutes that make it a crime to defame, slander or libel someone or something;
c. Refrain from enacting wide-ranging and vaguely worded laws on national security and “extremism”;
d. Eliminate administrative and other impediments that hinder the ability of investigative journalists from undertaking their professional activities;
e. Fully respect the right of journalists not to disclose their sources of information;
f. Carry out prompt and thorough investigations into threats and physical attacks against investigative journalists; and
g. Vigorously prosecute all of those responsible for the murder of investigative journalists;
11. Agrees to consider actions that would draw attention to the vital role played by journalists in strengthening democracy, human rights and the rule of law, inter alia, by reinstituting the Assembly's annual OSCE Prize for Journalism and Democracy.