Freedom of expression and information

Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights



Freedom of Expression is Still the Issue (and nothing less than a human right)

13 and 14 October 2015, Strasbourg

 Following last December's CM Thematic Debate “Ensuring freedom of expression on the Internet” of December 2014 and the subsequent decision of 4th February 2015, delegates invited the Secretary General to organise a Council of Europe conference on the implication of the European Court of Human Rights case-law on freedom of expression on the Internet.

A high level conference will be organised on 13 and 14 October 2015 in Strasbourg, based on three key elements: freedom of expression as a fundamental value of democracy; challenges to freedom of expression posed by the Internet and possible answers; the role of the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the Strasbourg Court in the European legal landscape. The following three issues will be built into various debates that will be held over two intensive days: the rules of the democratic game when there is conflict between fundamental rights; the context of increased social sensitivities; how to integrate the Internet into the existing sphere of protection for freedom of expression.

The Conference will enable exchanges of the diverse approaches of concerned actors on these issues: journalists, sociologists, lawyers, judges of the ECtHR, politicians, representatives of international organisations and civil society. It will mark an important milestone in the roadmap towards establishing a coherent regime to protect all public spaces for democratic debate.

The Conference programme will be available soon.

Council of Europe hosts a French Digital Council debate on loyalty between economic actors in the digital environment

On Friday 9 January, the Council of Europe hosted a debate organised by the French Digital Council on “Loyalty between economic actors – Ensuring the balance between economic relationships in the digital environment”. The event was part of a public consultation, and brought together more than 200 participants from the government, business and civil society. (Programme - French only)

Speakers at the opening included Jan Kleijssen (link to speech - English only), Director of Information Society and Action against Crime for the Council of Europe, Benoît Thieulin, president of the French Digital Council, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, president of the CNIL (Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés), and Catherine Trautmann, Vice President of the Strasbourg Urban Area. Axelle Lemaire, French Minister of State for the Digital Sector, will speak at the closure.

The French Digital Council is an independent advisory commission that issues independent opinions and recommendations on any question relating to the impact of digital technologies on economy and society. The French government can consult the Council on new legislation or draft regulations.  

je suis Charlie


'Charlie Hebdo' massacre, attack on democratic society

  Statement by Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland: "I am shocked and deeply saddened by the horrendous attack on innocent people at the Charlie Hebdo in Paris today. This terrorist attack was clearly targeted to hit journalists and undermine freedom of expression. It was an outrageous attack on our democratic and European values. It is another example of the threatening radicalization of our societies, which we must resolutely resist. Europe's governments and institutions, including the Council of Europe, have to take all possible action to better protect journalists and media freedom in future. I extend my condolences to the people of France and especially to the victims' families and friends." The Council of Europe will hold a commemorative ceremony to honour the victims on Friday.  

Creation of an internet-based Platform of expression to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists


On 4 December, the PACE organised a Conference on Media Freedom and the Security of Journalists in the French Senate in Paris, during which the launch of an internet-based Platform to promote the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists took place. A "Memorandum of Understanding" on the creation of the Platform was signed between the Council of Europe and five partner NGOs (International Federation of Journalists, European Federation of Journalists, Association of European Journalists, Article 19, Reporters Without Borders). 

The Platform is a tool that is part of the strategy of the Council of Europe for the protection of journalists and media freedom.

This tool aims at enabling trusted partner organisations to issue alerts when journalists or their work is under threat, and increasing the Council of Europe's capacity to react more effectively in response to these alerts. The actions undertaken by the Council of Europe in this field, as well as regular reports and observations by the member States concerned, will also be included on the Platform.  (Click here for more information ...)



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. 

(06/05/2014). Council of Europe member States are encouraged to better protect journalists and other media actors.

In a Declaration, adopted on 30 April 2014, the Council of Europe, alarmed by the deteriorating safety situation of journalists and other media actors, urged its member States to fulfil their positive obligations to protect them. It intends to intensify its standard-setting and co-operation activities for the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists and other media actors as a priority and will consider further measures to ensure their protection from threats and acts of violence, as well as measures to eradicate impunity.  

(24/04/2014) - A Guide on human rights for Internet users

The Council of Europe launched a guide for internet users to help them better understand their human rights online and what they can do when these rights are challenged. The creation of the Guide was triggered by the need to empower users to exercise their human rights online.  It has been prepared by the Committee of Experts on Rights of Internet Users (MSI-DUI). (Read more) 

Ministerial conference in Belgrade discussed freedom of expression and Internet freedom in Europe  

Ministers responsible for Media and Information Society from the 47 Council of Europe member states met in Belgrade on 7 and 8 November 2013 to discuss how to improve the protection of freedom of expression in Europe.

 Final Press Release

All information on the conference here.

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


Cooperation Activities

Towards our goal to promote freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media in line with the Council of Europe standards, the co-operation activities in the media field include legal expertises, training programmes, seminars, conferences and other events with the participation mainly of public officials, media professionals and civil society.


"Safety of Journalists – Current Challenges"
Warsaw, 23-24 April 2013  

Without freedom of expression and the right to impart and receive information and ideas, democracy becomes, at best relative, but at worst, a figment of collective imagination..." Read here the entire intervention by Jan Malinowski, at the Conference