Unic Press UK: The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has expressed concern over a series of measures taken by the United States and the Russian Federation aimed at compelling foreign media entities operating in their country to register as “foreign agents”.
The position of the OSCE was aired by Harlem Désir, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, who spoke at the opening of the Internet Freedom Conference, which was held in Vienna last month. Désir said:
“Branding media entities as ‘foreign agents’ is a dangerous practice, as it can narrow the space for freedom of the media. I call on both the United States and the Russian Federation to reconsider and refrain from requiring media entities to register as “foreign agents” and not take further steps.”
The OSCE is also worried that the measures being taken would be an infringement on the rights of the concerned media entities and several journalists to freely work and freely facilitate a wider dissemination of information..
In a letter to the United States and the Russian Federation, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Désir asked both countries to explain the reasons behind the requirement that certain media entities should register as “foreign agents” in their respective countries.
The issue that OSCE is trying to address arose when the United State Department of Justice notified RT, a Russian international television network funded by the Russian government, that being registered as “foreign exchange” is a new requirement for operating in the U.S; and the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, responded by amending its foreign agent media law, thereby imposing further conditions on foreign funded media outfits operating in Russia.