Strasbourg, 13 May 2008

CDMC-BU(2008)003

 

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BUREAU OF THE STEERING COMMITTEE
ON THE MEDIA AND NEW COMMUNICATION SERVICES

(CDMC-BU)

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Meeting of 28 and 29 April 2008
Council of Europe Office, 55 avenue Kléber, 75016 Paris
(Room 2)

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MEETING REPORT

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    Items 1 and 2. Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda

    1. The Bureau adopted the agenda, as set out in Appendix II. The list of participants is set out in Appendix I. The meeting was chaired by Mr Matthias Traimer (Austria) and Ms Delia Mucica (Romania) for the last part, and was largely devoted to the preparation of the 7th meeting of the CDMC.

    Item 3. Decisions of the Committee of Ministers of interest to the work of the CDMC

    2. The Bureau took note of the adoption by the Committee of Ministers, on 20 February 2008, of the Declaration on the management of the digital dividend and the public interest and of the Declaration on protecting the dignity, security and privacy of children on the Internet. In the same meeting, the Committee of Ministers also took note of the last CDMC meeting report.

    As regards the digital dividend, Mr Patrick Segalla, Chairperson of the MC-S-PSM and attending the meeting for discussion under item 9, informed the Bureau about developments in respect of the proposed management of the digital dividend at European Union / Communities level, namely proposals for the harmonisation of spectrum usage and the objective of striving to achieve maximum economic dividend. The Bureau suggested that, when considering this issue, member states should draw inspiration from the recently adopted Committee of Ministers declaration. If necessary this matter could be further discussed at the upcoming CDMC meeting.

    3. The Bureau also took note that, on 26 March 2008, the Committee of Ministers adopted the Recommendation on measures to promote the respect for freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters and the Declaration on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities for the broadcasting sector.

    4. The Bureau underlined the desirability to pay attention to, and possibly for a CDMC debate on, the assessment of the implementation and impact of standard-setting instruments prepared by it (and its subordinate bodies). The Bureau suggested that, when preparing draft standard-setting instruments, groups of specialists should propose the follow-up to be given to those texts. The possibility was evoked of systematically inserting in draft recommendations a request to member states to provide information on steps taken to implement the instruments’ provisions; however, it was also noted that this approach has been followed in many recommendations in the past but without any tangible effect. The merits and difficulties of using (or abusing recourse to) questionnaires were also noted.

    In this connection, the Bureau recalled that the question of assessing the implementation and impact of specific texts is part of the CDMC’s terms of reference and has been discussed in the past. The CDMC agreed to have an item regularly on its agenda to consider possible follow-up work. It was also noted that specialised ministerial conferences are an occasion to identify instruments requiring follow-up work. For example, a number of the items in the Kyiv Action Plan calls for the “monitoring of the implementation” of specific standard-setting instruments, which has led to the elaboration – and adoption – of additional texts (e.g. the 2006 and 2008 declarations respectively on the independence of public service broadcasting and on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities for the broadcasting sector). Part of the answer also lies on the elaboration of texts containing provisions that are concrete and easy to implement.

    The Bureau noted that this could be a subject for discussion at the First Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and new Communications Services which will take place in Reykjavik in May 2009.

    5. The Bureau noted that the Committee of Ministers has given the CDMC ad hoc terms of reference “To resume examination of the protection of the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations by, in the first place, taking stock of the situation and, if justified, elaborating a draft Council of Europe binding instrument designed to reinforce the protection of the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations.”

    In this connection, the Bureau suggested that, in order not to hold back the process, a first meeting be organised among the delegations that have indicated their readiness to contribute to this work (namely Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, to which Armenia and were subsequently added) as well as the European Commission and relevant observers (e.g. EBU and ACT). This meeting should preferably take place before the next CDMC meeting or, failing that, telephone and e-mail exchanges among the relevant persons should lead to reporting to the CDMC on the proposed next steps and process. Ms Delia Mucica agreed to act as facilitator of such initial contacts and to report to the CDMC thereafter.

    Further, in order to prepare the work of the above group, the Bureau asked the Secretariat to collect relevant existing material and asked Ms Mucica to prepare an introductory paper.

    Item 4. Work programme for the CDMC in 2008

    6. The Bureau pursued discussions on the work programme for the CDMC in 2008 under various other items of the agenda (cf. paragraphs …).

    Item 5. Promoting visibility of the work of the CDMC

    7. The Bureau pursued its discussions on this subject and expressed appreciation of the efforts being made to improve the visibility of the results of the work of the CDMC, the latest being a flyer setting out the latest texts prepared by the CDMC and adopted by the Committee of Ministers as well as the latest achievements of the Media and Information Society Division. The Bureau encouraged the Secretariat to pursue such efforts and to disseminate widely the flyer. The Bureau welcomed the work of the Council of Europe Directorate of Communications in respect of the last Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and its plans for the upcoming IGF in Hyderabad (India).

    The Bureau also noted that a questionnaire had been sent to CDMC on steps being taken by national authorities which may draw visibility to the work of the CDMC. A document summarising the replies will be presented to the CDMC at its next meeting. In this connection, the Bureau noted that the need to adapt in the near future media-related legislation in a significant part of Council of Europe member states as a result of European Union legislation offered those states an opportunity to consider relevant Council of Europe standards and, possibly, make reference to them, in the process.

    Item 6. Draft instruments or texts to be submitted to the CDMC for consideration

    (i) draft Recommendation on media complaints bodies, their operation and procedures

    8. As requested by the CDMC during its last meeting, work on a draft recommendation has continued. The Bureau examined the revised text prepared by an external consultant on the basis of comments by CDMC members. The Bureau welcomed the efforts made but found that, in its present form, the text does not add to existing substantive standards. It therefore decided that the draft should not be transmitted to the CDMC for approval.

    It suggested that the text could be envisaged as guidelines or collection of best practices. One member thought difficult to say what is “best practices” in view of the variety of existing approaches in member states. He added that a distinction should be made between complaints and right to reply. The Secretariat will integrate the comments and suggestions made by Bureau members in view of further discussions by the CDMC.

    9. The Bureau welcomed the proposal made by the Secretariat to organise an expert round-table with representatives of media complaints bodies, professional associations and other relevant actors to explore the issue in further depth. The round-table could, if possible, take place June 2008 or, failing that, it could be organised back-to-back to the next Bureau meeting (16 and 17 October 2008).

    In order to contribute to the experts’ discussions, the Bureau suggested that, resources permitting, a consultant be asked to prepare an analysis of “the operation and functioning of media complaints procedures and media complaints bodies established in member states, taking into account any difficulties faced by individuals and groups affected by statements in the media to obtain redress through these mechanisms” as set out in the ad hoc terms of reference given to the CDMC by the Committee of Ministers.

    On the other hand, the text which has already been prepared could be used as a basis for drafting, in due course and having regard to the results of the above-mentioned analysis and round table, a standard-setting instrument (e.g. a recommendation or guidelines). The Bureau suggested that, in doing this, regard should be had to the fact that the ad hoc terms of reference relating to this work were given to the CDMC on 13 June 2007.

    The outcome of this work could also be presented at the Conference of Ministers in Reykjavik under the sub-theme on relations of the media with the individual and with the community(ies).

    (ii) Draft instruments submitted by the MC-S-IS

    10. The Bureau examined two draft texts prepared by the Group of Specialists on Human Rights in the Information Society (MC-S-IS) and took note of explanations given by Mr Thomas Schneider, Chairperson of the group.

    (a) Human rights guidelines for Internet Service Providers - The Bureau agreed that, subject to prior agreement with the European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA), the text be submitted to the CDMC for approval and for transmission to the Committee of Ministers for information.

    (b) Human rights guidelines for online games providers - The Bureau invited its members to send their comments to the Secretariat within two days and agreed that, subject to any necessary amendments, including those proposed by the online games industry (i.e. Interactive Software Federation in Europe), the text be submitted to the CDMC for approval and for transmission to the Committee of Ministers for information.

    Item 7. Implementation of non-binding instruments prepared under the authority of the CDMC

    11. This issue was discussed under other items, in particular under item 3 (see paragraph 4).

    Item 8. Discussion on a possible future mechanism in respect of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights

    12. In response to the CDMC’s request to the Bureau, the latter examined a draft report on the current state of CDMC discussions on this subject and approved it subject to certain amendments. The Bureau considered possible responses to the existing gap in the Council of Europe system of protection of freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media (or what it called “the missing link”) but without there being unanimous support for a particular option at this stage. While it agreed that the CDMC should continue to examine the matter, certain Bureau members indicated that it would be desirable to bring discussion to a conclusion.

    Item 9. Ongoing work of the CDMC and its subordinate bodies

    - Group of Specialists on Human Rights in the Information Society (MC-S-IS)

    13. The Bureau took note of the report of the 9th meeting of the MC-S-IS group and held an exchange of views with Mr Thomas Schneider, Chairperson of the group, on the progress being made by the MC-S-IS towards fulfilling the mandate. Particular reference was made to the questions of human dignity and harmful content and the protection of minors.

    The Bureau also took note of the ongoing work of the MC-S-IS in preparing a report on emerging issues and trends regarding copyright and freedom of expression. In developing any further concrete action in this field, the Bureau invited the MC-S-IS to consider proposing different options for action (e.g. a handbook on limits to or the so-called boundaries of copyright, a recommendation on copyright and freedom of expression).

    - Group of Specialists on media diversity (MC-S-MD)

    14. The Bureau took note of the report of the 7th meeting of the MC-S-MD and held an exchange of views with Mr Jacques Favre, Chairperson of the group, on progress being made by the MC-S-MD towards fulfilling its mandate. The Bureau noted in particular the concerns expressed by the Chairperson regarding the insufficient commitment and involvement of some group members, probably due in part to a professional profile which does not match sufficiently the substance of the MC-S-MD’s work. The Bureau recalled that any interested CDMC member can attend meetings of groups of specialists (although only those delegations identified in the group’s terms of reference are entitled to the reimbursement of expenses).

    - Group of Specialists on public service media in the Information Society (MC-S-PSM)

    15. The Bureau took note of the report of the 7th meeting of the MC-S-PSM and held an exchange of views with Mr Patrick Segalla, Chairperson of the group, on progress being made by the MC-S-PSM on fulfilling its mandate. He expressed the same concerns as to as to the professional background of several members and their involvement in the group’s work, which limits its output capacity.

    - Freedom of expression in times of crisis

    16. The Bureau held an exchange of views with Ms Bissera Zankova, coordinating freedom of expression in times of crisis work on behalf of the CDMC, who informed the Bureau on the progress of the work undertaken:

    - Thematic study examining developments in national legislations since 2001 concerning the fight against terrorism which have a bearing on freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media: after circulation of an outline, a contract has been signed with a consultant and the final version of the study is expected by mid-September; it should be submitted to the Bureau in time for its next meeting and subsequently to the CDMC. Completion of this study could be followed by a conference or by a hearing, with a view to the CDMC deciding what further action is called for. The event in question could possibly be combined with a related conference planned by the European Court of Human Right.

    - Forum on the rights and responsibilities of media and the working conditions of journalists in times of crisis and information network on the media’s contribution to inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue - an on-line discussion forum will be launched on 3 May to mark the World Press Freedom Day.

    The Bureau expressed its support for these projects and noted that this work could be re-invigorated with additional resources. It recalled that member states can make voluntary contributions towards the funding of such projects.

    - Living together

    17. The Bureau held an exchange of views with Ms Bissera Zankova, coordinating the “Living Together” project on behalf of the CDMC, who informed on the progress of the work undertaken. She gave details about the envisaged output, namely a booklet and a web based tool. She called on any member of the CDMC interested by the topic to join the working group and to contribute to it. Ms Zankova also suggested to look into ways to increase the visibility of the project.

    The Bureau expressed its support for the project and recommended that the CDMC be informed during its next meeting on the progress made.

    It also took note of the state of play of two other projects: Information network on the media’s contribution to inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, and Award for those media which have made an outstanding contribution to conflict prevention or resolution, understanding and dialogue. The Bureau noted concern expressed regarding their funding and recalled, once again, the possibility for member states to make voluntary contributions towards their funding.

    Item 10. Preparation of the 3rd Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Hyderabad (India), 3 to 6 December 2008

    18. Following comments from Mr Frederic Riehl on preparations for the next IGF, the Bureau held an exchange views on participation in and contributions to the IGF. The Bureau invited the Secretariat to keep the CDMC informed about its preparations for the IGF. The Chairperson also urged CDMC delegations to consider contributing to and participating in the IGF process and to keep the Secretariat informed of the same.

    Item 11. First Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and New Communication Services (Reykjavik, 28 and 29 May 2009)

    19. The Bureau examined the elements for discussion prepared on the basis of proposals by the subordinate groups and CDMC members, and discussed such proposals with the chairpersons of the subordinate groups present. It underlined the importance of preparing a preliminary draft action plan with clear policy lines based on those contributions and the Bureau’s own discussions, in time for discussion at the upcoming CDMC meeting.

    The CDMC should also start considering possible keynote speakers, moderators and panellists. Bureau members and CDMC members generally were invited to make proposals to this end.

    Item 12. Standing Committee on Trans-frontier Television (T-TT)

    20. The Secretariat informed the Bureau orally on the on-going work of the T-TT. In spite of the important amount of work still pending, the Committee is expecting to have a full text of the revised convention by the end of 2008.

    Item 13. Information on the work of, and co-operation with, other Council of Europe bodies, of interest to the CDMC

21. The Bureau took note of the report by Ms Bissera Zankova, who represented the CDMC at the meeting of the Working Group on Human Rights in a Multicultural Society of the DH-DEV (reporting to the CDDH).

    It also took note of the oral report by Mr Luis Ferro, who represented the CDMC at the meeting of the CAHPAH (European Co-ordination Forum for the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015).

    22. The Bureau discussed modalities for representation of CDMC in other Council of Europe bodies and events in order to improve the process. It requested that a resource list be drawn up of interested CDMC members mentioning, inter alia, their areas of professional knowledge or interest, as well as a list of Council of Europe committees/bodies, their areas of work/current objectives and, to the extent possible, the dates of their future meetings. This should facilitate the choice of CDMC representative to attend meetings of other Council of Europe bodies.

    Item 14. Other information of interest to the work of the CDMC

    23. The Secretariat informed the Bureau of the work in progress in respect of the European Convention on the Legal Protection of Services based on, or consisting of, Conditional Access. It underlined the need for member states to respond to the questionnaire in order to facilitate the analysis undertaken. If it receives a significant number of replies, it will be in a able to prepare a meaningful information document for the CDMC meeting in November.

    Mr Andris Mellakauls (Latvia) informed the Bureau on the 27th meeting of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) that will be held in Riga on 14-16 May.

    Item 15. Administrative and budgetary matters

    24. The Secretariat informed the Bureau of relevant issues and developments relating to administrative and budgetary matters

    Item 16. Other items to be included on the agenda of the 7th meeting of the CDMC

    25. The Bureau approved the proposed draft agenda for the meeting of the CDMC of 27 to 30 May 2008. The Chairperson urged CDMC members to inform his secretariat of their participation.

    Item 17. Other business

    (i) request for observer status

    26. The Bureau considered the request by the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) for observer status with the CDMC and its groups of specialists, having regards to documents/information submitted in support of this request by Mr William Horsley, AEJ’s Media Freedom Representative and Chairman of the United Kingdom Association of European Journalists. It decided to invite a representative of AEJ to the next CDMC meeting for an exchange of views.

    * * *

    APPENDIX I

    List of participants

    Members of the Bureau

    Austria/Autriche
    Mr. Matthias Traimer, Head of Department, Media Affairs and Information Society, Federal Chancellery, Vienna

    Switzerland/Suisse
    Mr Frederic Riehl, Vice-directeur, Office Fédéral de la Communication, Bienne

    Armenia/Arménie
    Mr Garegin Chugaszyan, Executive Director, IT Foundation, Yerevan

    Iceland/Islande
    Ms Elfa Yr Gylfasdottir, Head of Division, Department of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Reykjavik

    Latvia/Lettonie
    Mr Andris Mellakauls, Head of International Relations, National Broadcasting Council, Riga

    Portugal/Portugal
    Mr Luis Ferro, GMCS – Department for the Media Palacio Foz, Praca Dos Restauradores, Lisbon

    Romania/Romanie
    Mrs Delia Mucica, Senior Advisor to the President, Romanian Public Television, Bucharest

    Experts

    Mr. Jacques Favre
    Chairman of the MC-S-MD

    Mr Thomas Schneider
    Chairman of the MC-S-IS

    Mr. Patrick Segalla
    Chairman of the MC-S-PSM

    Ms Bissera Zankova
    Coordinator of the « Living Together » project / Coordinator of the group on media in times of crisis

    Secretariat

    Mr Jan Malinowski, Head of Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights

    Mr Ivan Nikoltchev, Administrator, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights

    Mr. Lee Hibbard, Administrator, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights

    Ms Anne Boyer-Donnard, Administrative Assistant, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights

    Interpreters/Interpretes

    Mme Eline AITKEN
    M. Manuel MALHERBE

    * * *



    APPENDIX II

    Draft Agenda

    1. Opening of the meeting

    2. Adoption of the agenda

    - Draft agenda CDMC-BU(2008)OJ1
    - Notes to the draft agenda CDMC-BU(2008)OJ1Notes

    3. Decisions of the Committee of Ministers of interest to the work of the CDMC

    - Declaration on the allocation and the management of the Digital dividend and the public interest
    - Declaration on protecting the dignity, the security and privacy of children on the Internet
    - Recommendation on measures to promote the respect for freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters
    - Declaration on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities for the broadcasting sector
    - Terms of reference for a possible Council of Europe convention on the protection of the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations

    4. Work programme for the CDMC in 2008-2009

    5. Promoting visibility of the work of the CDMC

    - Visibility questionnaire CDMC-BU(2008)001

    6. Draft instruments or texts for consideration by the CDMC

    - Revised draft Recommendation on media complaints bodies, their operation and procedures CDMC(2007)014rev
    - Practical guidelines for Internet service providers with regard to key human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Information Society
    - MC-S-IS(2007)021rev3
    - Practical guidelines for games providers with regard to key human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Information Society
    MC-S-IS(2007)022rev2

    7. Implementation of non-binding instruments on media and freedom of expression prepared under the authority of the CDMC

    8. Possible future mechanism in respect of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    - Discussion paper CDMC-BU(2008)002
    - Streamlined monitoring of the implementation of Council of Europe standards on freedom of expression and information in times of crisis MC-S-IC(2007)008

    9. Ongoing work of the CDMC and its subordinate bodies

    - MC-S-MD
    - Report of 7th meeting (13-14 March) MC-S-MD(2008)003

    - MC-S-PSM
    - Report 7th meeting (27-28 March) MC-S-PSM(2008)003

    - Living Together
    - Information network on the media’s contribution to inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue MC-S-IC(2007)009
    - Award for those media which have made an outstanding contribution to conflict prevention or resolution, understanding and dialogue MC-S-IC(2007)007

    - MC-S-IS
    - Report of the 9th meeting (31 March – 1 April) MC-S-IS(2008)006
    - Report on Freedom of expression and copyright MC-S-IS(2007)008rev2
    - Protection of minors from harmful content – a pan-European ‘trust mark’ for all MC-S-IS(2008)002
    - Report on human dignity between media policies and media educations
    MC-S-IS(2008)001

    - Freedom of expression in times of crisis
    - Discussion paper on training of media professionals covering crisis situations MC-S-IC(2007)002rev2
    - Forum on the rights and responsibilities of media and the working conditions of journalists in times of crisis and information network on the media’s contribution to inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue MC-S-IC(2007)009
    - Thematic study on developments in member states with reference to standards concerning freedom of expression and information in the context of the fight against terrorism

    10. Preparation of the 3rd Internet Governance Forum, Hyderabad, 3-6 December 2008

    11. First Ministerial Conference on the Media and New Communication Services of the Members States of the Council of Europe (Reykjavik, 28-29 May 2009)

    - Outline CDMC(2007)018
    - Contribution of the MC-S-MD to the agenda of the Ministerial Conference
    MC-S-MD(2008)002
    - Contribution of the MC-S-PSM to the agenda of the Ministerial Conference
    MC-S-PSM(2008)002
    - Contribution of the MC-S-IS to the agenda of the Ministerial Conference
    MC-S-IS(2008)007

    12. Standing Committee on Transfrontier Television (T-TT)

    13. Information on the work of, and co-operation with, other Council of Europe bodies, of interest to the CDMC

    - Committee on Human Rights (CDDH)
    - Steering Committee for Education (CDED)
    - Ad hoc Committee on e-democracy (CAHDE)
    - European Co-ordination Forum for the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 (CAHPAH)
    - Convention Committee on Cyber crime (T-CY)
    - Consultative Committee of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (T-PD)
    - Council of Europe programme Building a Europe for and with Children
    - Intercultural dialogue Campaign 2008
    - Diversity Campaign 2008
    - Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

    14. Other information of interest to the work of the CDMC

    - European Convention on the Legal Protection of Services based on, or consisting of, Conditional Access
    - Questionnaire for parties to the Convention on the implementation of the European Convention on the legal protection of services based on, or consisting of conditional access (ETS 178)
    - Questionnaire for non parties to the Convention the legal protection of broadcasting and information society services based on, or consisting of conditional access

    15. Administrative and budgetary matters

    16. Other items to be included on the agenda of the 7th meeting of the CDMC

    - CDMC(2008)OJ1prov

    17. Other business

    - Documents supporting the application of the NGO Association of European Journalists (AEJ)