Threats to Press Freedom

A Report Prepared for the Free Media Seminar Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

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The Free Media Seminar of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe is taking place at a critical time. First, because developments throughout the region suggest that protection for media freedoms fall well short of international standards. Second, because there are disturbing signs of erosion for universal free expression protections on the part of international and continental bodies that should be insisting on bedrock protections for freedom of the press. Helsinki Watch, which since 1978 has monitored the state of human rights in many of the nations that signed the Helsinki Final Act, has in recent months published reports or conducted investigations in the countries listed above. We summarize our findings in the sections that follow. We do not claim that this is a comprehensive or exhaustive listing of curbs on media freedom in CSCE countries, or even in the countries we have included in this report.