The members of the International Press Institute (IPI), meeting at their 65th Annual General Assembly during the IPI World Congress on March 21, 2016 in Doha, Qatar, adopted by unanimous vote a resolution calling on member states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to fully support the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

The position of OSCE Media Freedom Representative was established in 1997 with a mandate to strengthen the observance of freedom of expression and media freedom in participating OSCE states. IPI was one of a handful of non-governmental media freedom organisations that participated in the 1997 dialogue that led to the post’s creation.

The Representative is the world’s only inter-governmental media freedom watchdog specifically devoted to upholding media freedom. The dedicated and institutionalized nature of the Representative’s role in monitoring relevant media developments in the OSCE region and in assisting participating states in implementing their media freedom commitments, including ensuring journalists’ safety, creates a powerful structure to effect meaningful change. As such, the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media has played an invaluable role, one that IPI members hope it will continue to perform.

IPI members welcomed the recent decision to extend the appointment of the current Representative, Dunja Mijatović, for an additional year. Mijatović’s work engaging with OSCE member states on their media freedom commitments and speaking out forcefully about threats to media freedom has advanced the mission of the Office and is already certain to leave behind a strong legacy.

IPI members also called on all OSCE member states to work together at the close of Mijatović’s new term to achieve consensus on a nominee who will be committed to robustly fulfilling the post’s mandate and to swiftly approve that nominee.