West Urged to Protect Press Freedom; OSCE Notes Prosecution Threats
Byline: Betsy Pisik, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
NEW YORK - Weighing in to a growing battle between governments and news organizations, a leading guardian of Western democratic values has asked its 55 member nations to reconsider the balance between national security and the public's right to know.
"Recently journalists have come under increased pressure on account of investigative pieces that used confidential information, or for not revealing their sources," said a letter sent Monday to governments in Europe, North America and western Asia from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
"That trend threatens to weaken the media's ability to uncover corruption and inform about wrongdoings," said the letter, signed by Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE representative for freedom of the media.
Mr. Haraszti, a Hungarian, requested that each member government, including the United States, fill out a detailed survey designed to assess whether "sufficient protection is granted to journalists" in the line of duty.
Security procedures have been heightened in both the United States and Europe, and the letter appears to rebuke the Bush administration's position that reporters might be prosecuted for publishing classified information. But a U.S. representative to the Vienna, Austria-based OSCE told the Washington Times Tuesday that Washington has no problem with the survey and intends to comply with the Oct. 1 deadline.
"They are simply compiling rules and regulations," said Kyle Scott, deputy chief of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE. "All the questions are valid. …