2020-03-07 › OSCE Media Freedom Representative concludes the second Central Asia Judicial Dialogue in Samarkand
SAMARKAND, 6 March 2020 - The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, concluded today the second Central Asia Judicial Dialogue in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. During this two-day event, over 40 judges from the region discussed how to protect freedom of expression while combating violent extremism, terrorism and hate speech. The participants also discussed the decriminalization of defamation.
The second Judicial Dialogue follows up on the first meeting held in Bishkek in December 2018, which established this platform. The expert meeting brought together judges from higher and appellate courts from all Central Asian countries, as well as international experts and judges from other OSCE participating States.
The event was opened by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Public Fund for Support and Development of National Mass Media, Komil Allamjonov, Deputy Chairman of the Public Fund, Saida Mirziyoyeva and Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan, Bakhtior Isakov.
“National judiciaries have a critical role in protecting freedom of expression and media freedom in the context of the fight against violent extremism, terrorism and hate speech,” Désir said. “The Central Asia Judicial Dialogue is a unique opportunity to establish regional and international co-operation on this crucial issue, to discuss international standards, and to share best practices.”
Participants discussed jurisprudential approaches, methodologies, current trends and best practices in cases concerning the protection of, and restrictions on, freedom of expression and freedom of the media, including online expression, linked to legislation countering terrorism and violent extremism.
“The Judicial Dialogue aims at strengthening the capacity of the judiciary to protect freedom of expression and media freedom while taking into account the security context and encouraging the exchange of best practices in the OSCE region,” Désir said.
“I welcome the announcement by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, of the decriminalization of libel and defamation and the adoption of a new law which gives bloggers the same rights as journalists. I encourage all the states of the region which have not yet decriminalized defamation to follow this example”.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. He provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter:
@OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.
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