Freedom of expression and information

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.  



SG's report on state o democracy, HR and RoLMedia freeedom and free   speech are hampered in all Europe

Secretary General 's Report on the State of Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law in Europe

Europe’s democratic shortcomings are bigger, deeper and geographically more widespread than previously understood according to the latest overview of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the 47 Council of Europe member states.

The report, by Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, identifies the lack of judicial independence in many countries and threats to media freedom across the continent as the two biggest challenges to democratic security.

“Honest and decent courts are essential for supporting democracy and maintaining stability, yet over a third of our member countries are failing to ensure that their legal systems are sufficiently independent and impartial,” said the Secretary General.
Media freedom, on the other hand, is under pressure across the whole continent. Journalists face physical threats in many places, anti-terror laws are being used to limit free speech and certain media arrangements unfairly favour those who are in power.”

The Secretary General’s overview – which is based on findings from the Council of Europe’s thematic monitoring bodies – identifies shortcomings in the conduct of elections, inadequate anti-discrimination rules and pressure on NGOs in many countries as further areas of concern.
As well as statistical analysis, the report includes detailed criteria for assessing different aspects of democratic security and specific plans for follow-up work – including a pan-European action plan for training legal professionals and a new three-year programme on the safety of journalists.

(17/04/2015) Give your opinion

what do you think?The Council of Europe is working on a draft recommendation by the Committee of Ministers to its member states on Internet freedom.
The draft is currently being elaborated by a committee of experts operating under the authority of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Media and Information Society.

As part of its multi-stakeholder outreach and dialogue, the Council of Europe would like your feedback, comments and suggestions on the draft recommendation to be sent to us, at the latest by 30 April 2015, by e-mail to Marta.WIELOCH @  

(04/2015) Protecting the global free flow of information on the Internet 

The Council of Europe has called upon its 47 member states to promote and protect the free flow of information on the Internet, and to ensure that any blocking of content complies with human rights standards and does not interfere with international Internet traffic.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted a Recommendation containing a set of principles for the free transboundary flow of information on the Internet, and has called on its 47 member states to ensure that they are reflected in regulatory frameworks and in practice. The principles underline the protection of the right to privacy, the right to freedom of expression and the right to assembly and association in compliance with Articles 8, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. (read more...)

Council of Europe launches an Internet platform to protect journalism and promote safety of journalists 

photo platform journalistThe Council of Europe is launching today – in co-operation with five partner organisations – an Internet platform aimed at protecting journalism and promoting the safety of journalists.

Via the platform, the partner organisations – Article 19, the Association of European Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders – will issue alerts concerning media freedom threats to bring them to the attention of the Council of Europe institutions.
See Council of Europe press release on the topic.

Follow the Guide

Follow the guide  The Council of Europe launched a A Guide on human rights for Internet users to help them better understand their human rights online and what they can do when these rights are challenged.
To know your rights, follow the Guide !! 
Available also in Arabic, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Turkish. More languages to come.


New adopted texts

To facilitate their dissemination, some of the standards adopted by the Council of Europe have been translated into other languages than English and French, sometimes by members States themselves. You will find these translations in our "Translations" section.  

See previous news

Media, society and culture Media and democracy
Media in time of crisis Freedom of expression
Freedom of the media
Diversity and concentration Copyright
Neighbouring rights
Public service media Radio
Internet and children
Media education
Internet and information society
Calendar 2015
CDMSI meetings and other Information Society meetings and events
Coming soon

8th meeting of the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) - 16-19 June 2015

Cooperation Activities

The co-operation activities in the media field help to promote freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media in line with the Council of Europe standards.
Highlight on recent activities:
Analysis of the Draft Law of Ukraine "On amending certain Laws with regard to Public Broadcasting of Ukraine". Learn more


Seminar and Inter-regional Dialogue on the protection of journalists 3 November 2014, Strasbourg

The Seminar addresses the need to improve legal protections for journalists whose safety and security are threatened because of their work.
Learn more

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Freedom of Expression is STILL the Issue (and nothing less than a human right) 13 and 14 October 2015, Strasbourg  

Council of Europe high level conference on the implication of the European Court of Human Rights case-law on freedom of expression on the Internet.