I wish to thank the Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFoM), Ms Teresa Ribeiro, for her report. We welcome the focus in this Autumn report on the description of her work. This provides a good counterpoint to her Spring report that was, usefully, more analytical in format.
The current report highlights the extensive and important activities which the RFoM and her staff have been undertaking on behalf of all participating States. The United Kingdom welcomes the RFoM’s recent participation in various regional and thematic conferences, as well as her country visits. Like the RFoM, we agree on the importance of direct contact with national authorities, as well as senior politicians, media actors and civil society. We also welcome the RFoM’s continued focus on the Safety of Journalists, an issue which continues to be of concern in the OSCE region. The work on Safety of Female Journalists Online is to be particularly commended – the use of the RFoM’s materials for wider training and educational programmes is testament to the importance, and quality, of this work.
We also welcome the RFoM’s focus on disinformation which poses threats to democracy, to security, and to wider societal cohesion in the OSCE region. It is a complex subject deserving of attention. So too is the issue of legal harassment, where actions in the spheres of both civil and criminal law are of concern.
It is regrettable, but understandable, that the RFoM continues to see a bleak picture on media freedom in the OSCE region. As we prepare to celebrate next year the 25th anniversary of the RFoM’s mandate, it will be important that we remind ourselves, collectively, of the importance of the role of the RFoM. It remains a critical institution for the OSCE region. Its success depends on all participating States offering the direct, open and productive contacts that the RFOM requires.
We thank you, Teresa, for your efforts and reiterate the UK’s full support for the important work undertaken by you, and your excellent staff.