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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: OSCE Has Growing Role in Protecting Internet Freedom


No 438-E
At a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the OSCE has a growing role in protecting human rights in the cyber environment and in resolving long-term regional conflicts.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that  the basic principles of human rights and freedoms remain the same in this changing world and need to be protected in new information and communication environments as well. “The OSCE must be ready for rapid developments in the information technology sector and to protect human rights related to this sector, taking into account the cyber security risks of the 21st century,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

According to Foreign Minister Paet, as an e-state Estonia is a steady supporter of freedom of the media and freedom of expression, including on the internet. “For us, virtual freedom of speech is equally important to other human rights. The OSCE must also keep pace with current developments – for example, it is very important to consider the freedom of the digital media,” he added.

Paet said that the OSCE has made progress in ensuring transparent and stable cyber security. “The OSCE has an important role in regional cyber security and carries considerable weight in the global discussion on internet safety. The fight against internet threats must be transparent and must not infringe on fundamental rights and freedoms,” he added.

In his speech, the foreign minister also spoke about the OSCE's role in resolving long-term conflicts. “The OSCE's activities are aimed first and foremost towards ensuring peace and stability in our own region. In order to accomplish this it is very essential to peacefully resolve long-term conflicts in Georgia, Moldova, and between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” said Paet. 

The foreign minister recognised the OSCE's current president Ireland and last year's president Lithuania for their significant efforts in helping to find a solution to the Transnistria conflict. “The OSCE's next president Ukraine has as opportunity to work on improving the situation, but this would also require effort on the part of parties involved,” he added.

The president of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe this year is Ireland and the 19th meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council took place from 6-7 December in Dublin. In 2013 Ukraine will be the president of the OSCE.

While in Dublin, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet also has a meeting scheduled with Georgia's new foreign minister Maia Panjikidze.

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