International Human Rights Champions Concerned About Implementation of US Patriot Act

With the implementation of the so-called Patriot Act in the United Sates under way, international human rights observers shift their close attention to North America.

On January 17 OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Freimut Duve sent a letter to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, an informed source in Moscow told RIA Novosti.

Among other things it expresses deep concern that the US "governmental prerogatives are being used in a way that might intimidate citizens from exercising their right to freedom of expression." The OSCE media watchdog referred to the law-prescribed control exercised by the FBI and other national security bodies over library readers, media subscribers and book buyers in search for evidence testifying to ties with foreign special services or terrorist organizations. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media sees it as a direct threat to the freedom of thought and expects official response from the US Department of State.

According to the source, Duve's stance "demonstrates a more adequate reaction to cases of media rights violations which create an unhealthy situation in traditionally democratic states." Duve's reaction was partially provoked by just criticism from Russia and other countries, the source stressed.

The anti-terrorism legislation under the name of the Patriot Act was passed in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11 in New York. The Patriot Act contains a series of measures giving police and federal agencies sweeping powers and tightening the banking and immigration legislation.

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