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Side Event on Fundamental Freedoms in the Digital Age at the 2011 OSCE HDIM

L to R: Nataliya Radzina, Agata Waclik-Wejman, Thomas O. Melia and Dunja Mijatovic at the U.S. hosted side event: 'Fundamental Freedoms in the Digital Age,' Warsaw, Poland, Sept. 26, 2011. (USOSCE/Colin Peters)

L to R: Nataliya Radzina, Agata Waclik-Wejman, Thomas O. Melia and Dunja Mijatovic at the U.S. hosted side event: 'Fundamental Freedoms in the Digital Age,' Warsaw, Poland, Sept. 26, 2011. (USOSCE/Colin Peters)

On September 26, the U.S. Delegation to the 2011 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting hosted a side event entitled: ‘Fundamental Freedoms in the Digital Age.’ The event was moderated by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Thomas O. Melia, and the guest speakers included OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic; Agata Waclik-Wejman, policy counsel for Google; and Nataliya Radzina, a Belarusian journalist.

In his opening remarks, DAS Melia highlighted the U.S. priority on Internet Freedom, reaffirming its position as a fundamental freedom on a par with the freedoms of expression, association and assembly. Mijatovic expressed concern that Internet freedom is diminishing in the OSCE space, while Waclik-Wejman likened blocking Internet sites to imposing tariffs on goods. Nataliya Radzina recounted her harrowing experiences at the hands of the Belarusian KGB and her flight into Russia before obtaining refugee status in Lithuania.