Internet freedom will be priority of Ireland’s OSCE leadership

02.01.2012 - 12:53

Freedom of expression in digital media will be one of the key priorities of Ireland’s stewardship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Ireland took over from Lithuania as chair of the organisation on 1 January.


According to Eamon Gilmore, Ireland’s deputy prime minister who will serve as OSCE’s chairperson in office, Ireland will seek to address protracted conflicts, promote internet freedom and strengthen co-operation between the 56 OSCE participating States. He also pledged to continue the work made by Lithuania in the area of conflict resolution.


In a statement to mark Ireland becoming OSCE chair, Gilmore said that “I particularly wish to congratulate Lithuania on the successful resumption of official 5+2 talks in the Transdniestrian settlement process. Ireland will seek to build on this momentum through supporting existing processes, including the Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the Geneva Discussions dealing with the August 2008 conflict in Georgia. We will draw on our own experience of conflict resolution in the context of the Northern Ireland peace process to advance these processes and facilitate engagement by all parties.”


He also said that freedom of expression through digital media will also be a priority for Ireland. “The potential of the Internet to inform and empower people is clearer than ever. It is unfortunately also clear that the threat to freedom of expression online is growing,” he said. “As an internet capital of Europe, Ireland is strongly committed to safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms in the digital age, and our OSCE Chairmanship will draw attention to this important issue.”


Gilmore will formally outline Ireland’s priorities for its OSCE chairmanship to the permanent council in Vienna on 12 January.