OSCE Spotlights Media Freedom, Democracy & Security at Almaty Event

ASTANA – The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFoM), Teresa Ribeiro, and Kazakh officials discussed the pressing topics facing journalists and shared practical solutions to improve their safety and working conditions during a regional event on June 27 in Almaty.

Photo credit: Foreign Ministry’s press service

Teresa Ribeiro hosted the event “Beyond the Headlines: Protecting Journalists to Advance Media Freedom,” which focused on the safety of journalists.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s press service reported that among the attendees were Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko and representatives of the media, academia, and civil society from Central Asia and Mongolia. 

During the meeting, the Office of the OSCE RFoM presented national tools and initiatives related to the safety of journalists, including recommendations developed by the Office – OSCE RFoM Safety of Journalists Toolbox and Guidelines for monitoring online violence against female journalists.

Ribeiro noted the importance of holding such events, which serve as a platform for an open exchange of views on positive initiatives aimed at strengthening the safety of journalists as the most critical foundation for media freedom, democracy, and security.

Kazakhstan-OSCE cooperation 

Vassilenko stated that since Kazakhstan’s independence, the development of multifaceted cooperation with the OSCE and within the organization has been one of the strategic priorities of the country’s foreign policy.

Cooperation with the OSCE fully aligns with the conceptual vision of Kazakhstan’s development in implementing the reforms initiated by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. During the systemic transformation, Kazakhstan takes into account the best practices and recommendations of international organizations such as the UN and the OSCE.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Roman Vassilenko, Teresa Ribeiro and Kanat Iskakov took part in a regional event of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on the safety of journalists titled “Beyond the Headlines: Protecting Journalists to Advance Media Freedom”. Photo credit: Foreign Ministry’s press service

In this regard, Vassilenko thanked Ribeiro for the expert recommendations developed by the Office of the RFoM for Kazakhstan’s draft law on mass media, which was signed by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on June 19.

According to Vassilenko, free and independent media are fundamental to sustainable development, the protection of human rights, and strengthening of democracy. The safety of journalists is a prerequisite for the exercise of the universal and inalienable right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

Kazakhstan’s commitment to strengthen journalists’ safety

Kazakh Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Kanat Iskakov emphasized the firm commitment of the country’s leadership to continue creating the most favorable conditions for journalists, establishing and strengthening the legal framework for protecting freedom of speech, and ensuring the safety of journalists. He provided detailed information about the provisions introduced by the new law on mass media, which, according to him, “fully complies with all international standards, as well as the hopes and aspirations of Kazakhstan’s journalistic community.”

Iskakov highlighted the commitment to maintaining close cooperation with the OSCE RFoM office and journalists to strengthen their safety, including at the regional level.

As an outcome of the event, the parties agreed to continue the constructive partnership between the OSCE and Kazakhstan, particularly in implementing systemic measures taken by the Kazakh government to protect freedom of speech and improve the legal guarantees of journalists.

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