The main objective of this workshop, organized jointly by the Transnational Threats Department (TNTD) and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFoM), is to discuss the relationship between media and counter-terrorism policies and ways to enhance co-operation between governments, civil society and media organizations.
Free and independent media is a key to a functioning and pluralistic democracy. Respect for OSCE commitments such as freedom of expression and freedom of the media is essential to successfully implement any governmental long-term strategy designed to address terrorism. Although States are primarily responsible for preventing and countering terrorism and for managing the consequences of terrorist attacks, they should draw on the support of other stakeholders, including the media, to successfully counter such threats.
The integrity and the way by which government authorities and the media react and inform about these acts as well as on their root causes is a contributing factor to countering terrorism. The media’s role to serve the public interest by keeping people informed is often influenced by pressures to be the first to break stories or to provide the most sensational coverage of terrorist act.
Both governments and the media play a central role in preventing terrorism. A free media can credibly and critically report on consequences of terrorism, the plight of victims, underlying aims and motivations of terrorists but also address awareness deficits and initiate inclusive debates within society regarding problems that may lead to violent radicalization or alienation as well as their solution. It is important that governments allow and enable this critical and pluralistic media coverage and that authorities are accessible for the media as an interlocutor on these issues.
In recent terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen as well as in conflict zones, journalists have increasingly become targets and/or victims of terrorist attacks. The safety of journalists involved in reporting on issues of terrorism and conflict as well as terrorists’ threats against journalists is also an issue relevant for the range of participants envisaged for this expert workshop.
Following the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security, the expert workshop is a response to the increasing demand for a better understanding and discussion about the various and inter-related roles of the media, human rights, security and law enforcement in the context of counter-terrorism policies and media freedom and responsibilities.