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“Charter of the Freedom of Printed Media” Was Enacted in Hamburg and Georgia Is Entitled to Maintain It

June 1, 2009

Editors of 46 leading media-sources out of 19 states in Europe enacted the European Charter on the Freedom of Printed Media in Hamburg, Germany. The Charter was signed during the forum organized in the Media House in Hamburg.

The final text of the Charter was worked out by influential German outlets “Stern”, “Speigel”, “Focus”, “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, “Frankfurter Rundschau”,” Tageszeitung“, “Bild”, “Die Zeit.”

The Charter is made of 10 paragraphs and it formulates those basic principles that should ensure independence of media sources from governmental structures. More precisely, the Charter is about the rights of media-representatives; they should be protected from being watched, listened; editorial-offices and computers of journalists should not be searched; the Charter also ensures availability to national and international information sources.

According to the participants of the forum, the Charter should be the juridical document and signing this document must be the indispensable condition for the integration in EU.

According to the organizers, the journalists of the European countries have a right to use the mentioned Charter as the guarantee of their inviolability during the controversy with the government or with the separate department of the government and in such case they can apply to the foreign colleagues.

Here is the full text of “The Charter of the Freedom of the Printed Media”.

“The freedom of the printed media is important for the democratic society. Every government is obliged to support, defend and respect any political, social and cultural media sources. Censorship must be banned. It is important to guarantee the freedom of any journalist. It is inadmissible to pursuit them and the government shall not interfere in their professional activities. The printed media and the online media must not be licensed.

The right of the journalists to spread information and opinions should not be in danger, limited and become the reason of the sanctions.

Protection of the source of information shall be guaranteed. It is inadmissible to search the editorial offices and apartments of journalists in order to find out the source of the information. It is inadmissible to watch and listen to journalists for that purpose. The government should guarantee that the media while attending to their duties will be protected by the government and the independent court. It is about physical protection of journalists and their assistants. Every fact of harassment on journalists should be investigated and those responsible for the harassment shall be punished according to the law.

State and non-governmental structures shall not threaten economical basis and independence of media sources. Economical sanctions are illegal as well. Private financial entities shall not threaten the independence of media and should not oppress them that will eradicate the border between the advertisement and editorial material. The government and its sub-institutions shall not restrict the independence of journalists and media-sources to the availability to the information. Just the opposite, the government shall do its utmost to assist the media to implement its mission and provide the society with the information. Media and journalists shall enjoy the right of releasing local and international news and free access to news sources. Foreign journalists shall get visas without delays; they will get accreditations without problems since it is important to implement their journalist mission.

Society of each country shall have access to national and foreign media-sources.

The government shall not prevent citizens to be trained as a journalist.”