European Parliament hosts seminar “The Situation of the News Media in Russia and the Eastern Partnership Countries” - PHOTO

European Parliament hosts seminar “The Situation of the News Media in Russia and the Eastern Partnership Countries” - <font color=red>PHOTO</font>
# 06 June 2012 13:56 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Ramil Mammadli – APA. The European Parliament hosts the seminar for journalists on “The Situation of the News Media in Russia and the Eastern Partnerhsip Countries” co-organized by the European Parliament and the European Commission. From Azerbaijan, Director General of APA Group Vusala Mahirgizi, Editor-in-Chief of Ayna-Zerkalo newspaper Elchin Shikhli, Professor of Baku State University Gulu Maharramli, Director of Multimedia Information Systems Technologies Center Osman Gündüz, Vice Chairman of the Yeni Nesil Journalists Union Naila Aliyeva and reporter of the Radio Liberty Ulker Akifgizi joined the seminar, APA reports.

Head of Media Services and Monitoring Unit of the European Parliament Yannis Darmis delivered an opening speech at the two-day seminar, which has started today. He informed about the main point of the seminar and said that they aimed to hold discussions on the situation of free media. Not only Russia and the Eastern Partnership countries, but also the European Union have to speak about the situation of media and to share the experiences”, said Darmis.

Head of Russia, Eastern Partnership and Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Unit of the European Union Sabina Mazzi-Zissis focused on freedom of media in the post-soviet countries, development of news media and freedom of expression.

Then Director General for Communication of the European Parliament Juana Lahousse-Juarez addressed the seminar. She said such events aimed to discuss the situation of the media in the Eastern Partnership countries, to achieve sharing experiences and to search ways of solution of these issues. “We will discuss the problems preventing the development of the media and the role of media in the development of civil and democratic society.”

In the official opening, Anni Podimata, European Parliament Vice-President responsible for Communication and Information Policy, underlined the important role of the values of free media in establishing democratic and stabile world. “The freedom of speech and development of the media in Europe, Russia and the Eastern Partnership countries is among the priorities of the European Parliament. The question is not only about the media problems in those countries. Europe also faces the problems with freedom of expression. Hungary could be an example for that. There were problems with the mechanism of the government’s control over the media in Hungary. After the interference of the European Commission, they withdrew a legislative initiative on it.”

She spoke about the regular problems between former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and media in Italy. According to Podimata, Europe also regularly faces the serious problems in the field of the freedom of media and the media organizations issue reports on it. “But the situation is more difficult in the post-soviet countries”. She said that this problem was addressed not only by the media representatives. “The parliamentarians participating in the Euronest PA established by EU within the framework of the Eastern Partnership also hold permanent discussions of the development of free media and freedom of expression”.

Anni Podimata said EU was very interested in the stability of the countries. “EU wants its partners to be stabile and one of the main values of the stability is a democratic and civil society, which can not be established without ensuring basic human rights. Media can be a major player in this sphere”.

Director General for Communication of the European Commission Gregory Paulger also delivered a speech during the official opening. He said that free media was a column of the stabile, democratic and tolerant society. He spoke about the pressure on journalists in Russia, blackmail against journalist Khadija Ismayilova in Azerbaijan, violence against the journalist in Belarus.

Paulger noted that interference in freedom of speech, problems with obtaining information are observed in all countries, including European. For example, Hungary had plans to establish the government’s control over the media, but after the interference of the European Commission they withdrew this legislative initiative.

Paulger touched upon the new internet media as well. He said that one of the reasons caused the Arab Spring was the development of internet media and limitlessness of the freedom of media in those countries. “Rise of internet develops journalism as well. EU countries are interested in the freedom of media and existence of civil society in the Eastern Partnership countries within the framework of the neighborhood policy. In 2012, EU allocated 26 million euro for the development of civil society institutions in the partner countries. EU countries welcome the participation of the Eastern Partnership countries in the discussions on the freedom of media”.

Journalists from the EU, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia and other countries are attending the seminar. They will share views on free speech, media freedom, democracy and human rights and also hold discussions on EU institutions’ communication tools, the situation of media freedom in the Eastern Partnership countries and Russia.
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