Security Organization Claims Media Has Rights to Use Drones for Journalism

Posted by Betsy Lillian on March 03, 2016 No Comments

The use of drones by journalists for newsgathering purposes falls under the right of the media to publish news, as well as the public’s right to receive information and ideas, according to a representative from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The OSCE describes itself as an organization that “addresses a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities.”

Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, has presented a set of recommendations on the use of drones for journalism. Mijatović observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating countries, which span Europe, central Asia and North America, including the U.S.

“The evolvement of new technology constantly provides new ways for how members of the media collect information and their reporting,” Mijatović says. “Drones play an increasingly important role for how journalists can get information and cover events, and as such, drone journalism constitutes an integral part of the right to freedom of information.”

She explains that when it comes to reporting on situations of civil unrest, for example, UAVs can provide a remote vantage point, thus providing crucial coverage while protecting journalists’ safety.

“Deploying [remotely piloted aircraft] for the purpose of journalism should be put under the dynamics of the exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of information,” Mijatović continues. “It is a tool like any other for a journalist, and it is part of gathering news.”

The representative has recommended the OSCE participating states do the following:

  • Recognize that the use of drones by journalists for newsgathering purposes is within the right of the media to publish news, as well as the public’s right to receive information and ideas;
  • Accept that it is not akin to other civilian uses of UAVs because the publication of news is an exercise of freedom of the media; and;
  • Encourage a legal and regulatory regime for the deployment of UAVs nationally that recognizes the unique and legitimate function of drones for the purpose of newsgathering in the public interest.

Mijatović’s full announcement can be found here.

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