Representative visits Kazakhstan
Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, was in Kazakhstan on an official visit from October 29 – November 1.
Ms Mijatovic met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erlan Idrissov, to discuss a wide range of media-related issues, as well as the promotion of freedom of speech, the role of NGOs and other civil society organizations, and security issues within the OSCE.
Mr Idrissov highlighted Kazakhstan’s steadfast commitment to the principles of freedom of speech, human rights and fundamental democratic structures. The Minister emphasized that the Government of Kazakhstan is working with the Kazakh media and NGOs to develop cooperation with international organizations and that it stands ready to hold a constructive dialogue with the OSCE on a wide range of topics of mutual interest.
The Minister outlined the breakdown of the media sector in Kazakhstan, which comprises 2,500 outlets, of which 84% are privately owned. He also said that Kazakhstan is working to ensure that all types of media, especially modern media such as the Internet, play a positive, beneficial role in the lives of Kazakhstanis.
Ms Mijatovic said that the Journalists’ Code of Ethics recently adopted in Kazakhstan corresponds to current world practice on media self-regulation. In recognition of the role Kazakhstan plays in the OSCE, she praised the success of the OSCE Summit held in Astana in December 2010, in particular the adoption of the “Astana Commemorative Declaration: towards a Security Community”.
In a separate meeting with the Commissioner on Human Rights in Kazakhstan, Askar Shakirov, Ms Mijatovic discussed issues relating to the regulation of media activity, as well as the protection of journalists. Mr Shakirov set out the main media-related goals of the National Human Rights Office on Citizens’ Rights. He also updated Ms Mijatovic on preparations for a new law on access to information. Ms Mijatovic was positive about Kazakhstan’s “open door” policy and noted Kazakhstan’s leading role in this regard in the Central Asian region.
From Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dunja Mijatovic is an expert on media law and regulation and was appointed OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media on 11 March 2010. In 1998, as one of the founders of the Communications Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, she helped to create a legal, regulatory and policy framework for the media in a complex post-war society. She has also chaired both the European Platform of Regulatory Agencies and the Council of Europe’s Group of Specialists on freedom of expression and information in times of crisis.