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ADF International welcomes OSCE report promoting freedom of speech

  • OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, publishes a special report on legal harassment and abuse of the judicial system against the media

Vienna (25 November 2021) – The following quote may be attributed to Lidia Rieder, Legal Officer for ADF International in Vienna regarding the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media’s (RFoM), special report on legal harassment and abuse of the judicial system against the media:

“ADF International welcomes the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media’s report on legal harassment and abuse of the judicial system against the media. We commend Ms. Ribeiro’s recommendations in the report calling for the protection of freedom of the press, which is essential to democracy and, in particular, accountability of government.

We also encourage the RFoM to call on states to be vigilant to the threat posed to free speech by “hate-speech” laws. While everyone can agree that speech which incites violence crosses a line and can be subject to legal sanctions, it is regrettable that a concept as vague and subjectively defined as “hate speech” could be used to censor speech.

Democracy is founded upon free and open discussion. “Hate speech” laws create a “you-can’t-say-that” culture which silences debate and has a chilling effect on society. Censorship must be combatted by removing “hate speech” clauses that those in authority can and do use to silence dissenting voices.”

 

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