7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy - Kyiv, 10-11 March 2005 

Ministers´ views on the three sub-themes of the conference

All interviews

1) Freedom of expression and information in times of crisis

Helena Demakova, Minister of Culture of Latvia

“In times of crisis we must ensure the full freedom of the media. If relevant information exists, and here I exclude information, which, for investigative reasons, needs to be kept secret for the prevention of harm to public security or for the solution of a case, it is unreasonable to withhold it from the public. However, while the media enjoy the freedom to publish the information they receive, it is also crucial that they are aware of their responsibility not to create panic but to report in a factual, accurate and impartial way. It is my belief that by pursuing a policy of balanced co-operation, we can best contribute to the security of our populations.’’

Andreas Christou, Minister of the Interior of Cyprus

“The Council of Europe has an important role to play in order to ensure that European states do not interfere in a restrictive way in the free-flow of information between the sources of information and their citizens. The only justification for states to interfere is when public safety or public order is at stake.”

Nikolay Vassilev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport and Communications of Bulgaria:

“Freedom of expression is not unlimited as a right. It may come in conflict with other constitutionally enshrined rights like public security. In such clash there is a serious risk of free expression to be disrespected. Therefore every step undertaken by the relevant authorities aiming at restricting the entrenched democratic principles must be necessary, justified and consistent with the principles of art.10 of the European Convention of Human Rights and the jurisprudence of the Human Rights Court. ”

2) Cultural diversity and media pluralism in times of globalisation

Nikolay Vassilev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport and Communications of Bulgaria

“Media pluralism requires ensuring of a reasonable access of the customer to various sources of information.”

Brian Arthur Mikkelsen, Minister of Culture of Denmark

“I find it important that media concentrations are monitored, both at the national and European level, in order to ascertain whether any future action should be taken to safeguard plurality and diversity in the media.”

Helena Demakova, Minister of Culture of Latvia

“The benefit of activities at European level is that they would encourage relevant developments at national level as well and address the transnational cases of media ownership more effectively. It would also co-ordinate actions and harmonise the criteria applicable to define harmful media concentration. Moreover, regarding transnational media concentration, a national legal framework alone may be insufficient.”

3) Human rights and regulation of the media and new communication services in the Information Society

Andreas Christou, Minister of the Interior of Cyprus

“The Internet industry should assume its responsibilities and be made liable for the activities of its users in any area of crime and especially on sensitive issues such as the provision of harmful content to children or the promotion of terrorist activities.”

Nikolay Vassilev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport and Communications of Bulgaria

“The Internet market should be liberal. The role of the States is to promote self-regulation and support hot-line initiatives. The role of the Internet industry is in reducing and preventing circulation of illegal or harmful content through properly-functioning technical solutions in accordance with the legal system and with the support of consumers.”

Helena Demakova, Minister of Culture of Latvia

“The Internet plays an important role in the media environment, often having a similar impact as that of traditional media. This leads to the idea that a more technology-neutral regulation of audiovisual content should be developed. The content is the most important thing, and not the technical means by which it is delivered.”