[:en]On October 9-10, the 16th annual media conference on the topic: “Strengthening media freedom and the safety of journalists in changing conditions in the South Caucasus” was held in Tbilisi. Based on its results, a package of recommendations was adopted.
Digital technologies have made a significant contribution to the expansion of global communications and the ability of people to have access to information, as well as speak and be heard. The dynamic growth in the number of users and the unprecedented opportunities for the creation and distribution of content, as well as problems arising in the context of digital technologies, including misinformation and “fake news”, raise the role of digital media.
The media industry is forced to rethink existing approaches to creating and disseminating news and establishing control over the context.
In this regard, the participating States in the South Caucasus region are called upon to:
Protect freedom of expression and freedom of the media in accordance with international human rights law and refrain from imposing excessive restrictions, such as blocking websites.
Promote the diversity of the media by solving their economic problems, including by supporting local media when they go through the process of digitalization and adaptation of modern business models.
Introduce or strengthen laws and protect mechanisms that will promote transparent competition in the media market, including production and distribution of content, equal access to advertising sources, free flow of information and unhindered use of the Internet.
Journalists and media organizations are called upon to:
Improve professionalism and social responsibility by adopting codes of conduct and fact-checking systems, as well as introducing self-regulatory systems.
Invest in media literacy and fight fake news.
The participating states in the South Caucasus region are called upon to:
Fully comply with all OSCE commitments and its international obligations regarding freedom of expression and freedom of the media, including by respecting, promoting and protecting the freedom to seek, receive and disseminate information regardless of state borders.
Bring laws on media freedom in full compliance with international obligations so that they do not limit the ability of journalists to carry out their work.
Ensure that any restrictions on the media are strictly consistent with international law.
Media regulatory bodies should be independent, transparent and accountable to the public.
To ensure the presence of strong, independent media serving the public interest, maintaining high standards of journalism.
Guarantee the rights of journalists to protect their sources of information and not prosecute them for publishing classified or confidential information if, upon receipt of it, the journalists themselves did not commit any violations.