Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
What's good for the goose
The OSCE has denounced the Russian elections thus "the pre-election process was characterized by extensive use of the state apparatus and media favoritism to benefit the largest pro-presidential party".
The head of the long term observer mission to Russia, Rita Sussmuth pointed out that "We have serious concerns regarding the lack of media independence. State media failed to provide balanced coverage of the campaign and considerable pressure was exerted on journalists, which restricted information available to voters to make an informed choice. Steps should be taken to develop the state broadcasters into a truly independent public service."
However Martin Helme of the Research Centre Free Europe in Estonia and the leader of the No campaign in the recent referendum on EU membership has pointed out the double standards. "UKVE conducted a thorough research on how Estonian media covered the subject of EU and found that both state and private media was heavily bias in following the governments line", he said today.
Everything that the OSCE has complained about in Russia happened in spades across the enlargement countries. When the OSCE was requested to send observers they refused citing financial considerations, “OSCE refused to send observers to Estonia for two reasons – they did not have finances for that and they are only suppose to observe elections not referendums. I find it extremely meaningful that they refused on technical grounds, one could read between the lines, that it was a decision based on a political calculation not on a conviction that all is well with fairness and democracy in the accession referendums. Basically, it is hypocritical of OSCE or anyone in the West to accuse Russia in failing to uphold the high standard of democracy, as the same standard used in Russia is widely accepted in Europe as well. It appears in OSCE's view failing the standard of democracy is acceptable if it is for a good cause, like enlarging EU. For me it is a sad message of double standards by OSCE“.