Envoy blasts OSCE resolution targeting Russian media as discriminatory

Diplomats wait for the start of a meeting of the permanent council of the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna, Austria © Leonhard Foeger
Russia’s envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has branded the group’s resolution on countering the Russian mass media a discriminatory document that contradicts basic international agreements on human rights.

Apart from its openly Russophobic orientation, the resolution is an appalling example of discrimination of the Russian media. It contradicts not only the key international standards on freedom of expression, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the OSCE obligations, but also the EU-recognized norms concerning Human Rights and freedom of press,” Aleksandr Lukashevich said at a session of the group’s permanent council.

The statement was made shortly after the European Parliament voted in favor of a on a non-legislative resolution which calls for the EU to “respond to information warfare by Russia.” In the document, RT and Sputnik news agency are alleged to be among the most dangerous “tools” of “hostile propaganda.” Written by a Polish member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, Anna Fotyga, the report alleged that Moscow aims to “distort the truth, provoke doubt, divide the EU and its North American partners, paralyze the decision-making process, discredit the EU institutions and incite fear and uncertainty among EU citizens.”

Senior Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have criticized the resolution as extremely biased and undemocratic in spirit. In comments over the Wednesday vote, Putin said it showed “political degradation” in regard to the “idea of democracy” in the West and also noted that European lawmakers had turned to a policy of restrictions while attempting to “lecture Russia on democracy.”

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin called the resolution “a dangerous precedent” and warned of its possible negative consequences.

Infringing upon the rights of journalists, the European Parliament provokes the parliaments of other countries into making similar decisions while being guided by that precedent,” he said.