Media Section
Directorate of Co-operation
Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs


Annual report 2010

1 Introduction

The Council of Europe is the only international organisation that has developed throughout its existence a comprehensive body of standards concerning freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media. These standards – e.g., conventions, recommendations and declarations – serve as a reference point for all 47 member states and for other actors such as the European Union, the OSCE and media watchdog organisations.

The standards, however, acquire a real value only when they are introduced into the law and practice of member states. Assistance and co-operation activities are the main tools for promoting the implementation of Council of Europe standards. It is the responsibility of the Media Section to organise these activities which include legal expertises, training programmes, seminars, conferences and other events with the participation mainly of public officials, media professionals and civil society.

This work of the Media Section is funded by two sources – internal (Council of Europe ordinary budget) and external (voluntary contributions by member states and joint programmes with the European Union). By far the greater part of the funding comes from external sources.

2 Projects and activities in 2010

2.1 Overview

The Media Section works to promote freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media in line with Council of Europe standards.

The challenges to freedom of expression in the South Caucasus, Moldova and Ukraine were addressed at a conference organised under the auspices of the Swiss chairmanship of the Council of Europe. Strategies for further assistance to each of the five member states and for regional cooperation were formulated with the aim of promoting effective guarantees for freedom of expression.

As a result of extensive expert assistance provided by the Council of Europe, the Law of the Republic of Armenia on television and radio was significantly improved to conform to the organisation’s standards. A working group continues to address some deficiencies with Council of Europe expert assistance.

The work in Albania, Montenegro and Serbia – rather limited due to the very modest ordinary budget – sought to maintain the momentum in the ongoing reform of media regulation and practice until funding for bigger projects is raised. In Montenegro for example, a round-table discussion allowed local stakeholders to exchange information on the switchover to digital broadcasting with experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and the ''former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'' and to press on for starting the digitalisation process. In Serbia, some 30 judges were trained on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.

The media components of the two Pre-electoral assistance action plans (in Azerbaijan and in Bosnia and Herzegovina) implemented by the Media Section were highly appreciated by the beneficiary member states and by the Committee of Ministers. Under these action plans, journalists in Azerbaijan and in Bosnia and Herzegovina were trained how to cover election campaigns in a fair and balanced way. The media coverage of elections in both member states was monitored to identify problems as well as progress made.

Seeking to address in a more systematic way the significant challenges to freedom of expression, additional funding was raised from the European Union and from Council of Europe member states. This funding, many times larger than the ordinary budget, helped to achieve considerable impact.

Significant progress, albeit sometimes relatively slow, has been made in promoting European standards in the Ukrainian media environment thanks to the joint Council of Europe – European Union programme under the same title. Among the notable achievements is the adoption by the Ukrainian Parliament in early 2011 of the Law on Access to Public Information. The analyses and comments provided by the Council of Europe experts were instrumental for bringing this law closer to European standards.

A high-level conference “Safeguards for Media Pluralism in Ukraine” with the participation of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Ms Dunja Mijatovic, adopted recommendations for continuing the reforms in the media field in cooperation with the Council of Europe, the OSCE and other organisations.

As a result of its success and of the remaining challenges that need to be addressed, the joint programme in Ukraine has been extended until the end of 2012 with an additional funding of €1 000 000.

In Azerbaijan, a first stage of reform of the journalism education in Baku Slavic University was successfully completed with extra-budgetary funds. Funding is being sought for the second stage of the reform. The largest university in the country – Baku State University – has expressed interest in becoming the beneficiary of a similar project.

In Moldova, the media component of the joint Council of Europe – European Union Democracy Support Programme achieved remarkable and universally acknowledged results. The Council of Europe assisted the broadcasting regulator – the Coordinating Council of the Audiovisual (CCA) – to develop a new media monitoring methodology and to train staff on its use. This dramatically improved the capacity of CCA for independent and transparent media monitoring in accordance with European standards.

The CCA successfully used the new methodology to monitor the media coverage of the early parliamentary elections by national broadcasters according to the legal requirements. Its work was commended by national and international media organisations.

The Council of Europe assistance to the public-service broadcaster, Teleradio Moldova contributed to the broadcaster’s enhanced impartiality and to its aspiration to cover political and social issues in a balanced, neutral and informative manner. The extensive training and coaching provided for the management and staff of Teleradio Moldova significantly improved the debates on the constitutional referendum aired by the public-service broadcaster and, more generally, the quality of its political programmes.

In addition to Teleradio Moldova staff, some 30 Moldovan journalists were trained on issues related to the effective, fair and balanced coverage of voting- and referendum-related stories. With the assistance of the Council of Europe, a working group of media professionals prepared a new draft Code of Ethics for Journalists. It was extensively discussed by journalists throughout Moldova with a view to its wide adoption.

The success of previous and current joint programmes with the European Union and the need for follow-up work in the target countries led to the granting of some 2 million Euro of additional funding for work in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in 2011 and 2012.

As in previous years, special efforts were made to co-operate and co-ordinate with external partners and other Council of Europe services and bodies.

Ordinary budget activities

Regional

Safeguards for free media: promoting effective guarantees for freedom of expression in the South Caucasus, Moldova and the Ukraine - conference organised under the aegis of the Swiss chairmanship of the Council of Europe, Tbilisi, 15-16 April 2010

Albania

Translation into Albanian and printing of “Living Together” (a brochure explaining Council of Europe standards in the media field related to living peacefully and harmoniously in a democratic society), June 2010

Armenia

Expert assistance for aligning the media-related legislation with Council of Europe standards:

    Written comments on the Law on making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia on television and radio, July 2010

    Expertise mission, Yerevan, 13–15 October 2010 – a Council of Europe expert advised the working group on reforming media legislation in Armenia

Montenegro

Participation of a Council of Europe expert in a regional round-table on reforming liability for defamation, Podgorica, 11 June 2010

Round-table on the digitalization process in Montenegro, Podgorica, 30 September 2010

Serbia

Training for judges on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the relevant case-law of European Court of Human Rights, Nis, 1 December 2010

Externally-funded projects

Project number

Title

Start

End

Budget (Euro)

Source of Funding

2008/DGHL/JP/2113

Promotion of European standards in the Ukrainian media environment

1/09/2008

31/12/2012

2 208 918

EU/CoE

 

Democracy Support Programme, Moldova, media component

1/01/2010

30/06/2011

400 000

EU/CoE

2008/DGHL/VC/1882

Supporting the development of journalism teaching in Azerbaijan

1/03/2009

31/12/2010

590 840

VC Norway, Turkey

 

Action plan pre-electoral assistance in Azerbaijan, media component

1/04/2010

31/12/2010

77 410

OB, VCs

 

Action plan pre-electoral assistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, media component

1/02/2010

15/11/2010

81 860

OB, VCs

2.2 Project on European standards in the Ukrainian media

Title

Promotion of European standards in the Ukrainian media environment

Project area

Ukraine

Budget

€ 1 208 918 until 31 December 2010; additional € 1 000 000 for an extension from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2012

Funding

European Commission (90%)
Council of Europe (10%)

Implementation

Media Section (Directorate of Co-operation, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs)

Duration

1 September 2008 – 31 December 2010
Extended until 31 December 2012 with additional funding

Objective

To raise standards of journalism with a view to ensuring that the Ukrainian public is better informed about political and social processes and to provide continuing support for enhancing the legislative framework for media.

Activities and results in 2010

The project has three components:

    Legislative framework for the media;
    Advocacy for a code of ethics and improved professional standards in journalism;
    Improved co-operation between media, civil society and state administration officials.

Among the results achieved in 2010 are the following:

    The analyses and comments provided by the Council of Europe experts at the drafting and pre-adoption stage of the Law on Access to Public Information were instrumental for bringing this law closer to European standards. The law was adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament on 13 January 2011;

    Advice provided by Council of Europe consultants during dedicated seminars assisted Ukrainian experts in their work on the alignment of media legislation, such as the advertising and broadcasting laws, with the European Convention on Transfrontier Television;

    As regards concentration and transparency of media ownership, the authorities received practical advice on how to improve the legislation and practice. However, political will for implementation of these recommendations was lacking until the end of 2010;

    A high-level conference “Safeguards for Media Pluralism in Ukraine” with the participation of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Ms Dunja Mijatovic, adopted recommendations for continuing the reforms in the media field in cooperation with the Council of Europe and other organisations;

    Expert analysis of the Law on Telecommunications in the light of the EU regulatory framework and discussions with local stakeholders helped to advance the process of reforming the law;

    As concerns the transition to digital broadcasting, advice was provided on the technical, regulatory, economic and public awareness aspects as well as on strategy development and improving the interagency coordination during the switchover.

Assessment and follow up

The project achieved significant results, particularly in areas where there was political commitment on behalf of the authorities. The adoption of the Law on Access to Public Information is a notable example. In other areas, where such commitment was lacking, little progress was made – e.g., as concerns the establishment of a genuine public-service broadcaster.

The project was scheduled to end on 1 May 2010. A no cost extension was then granted until the end of 2010. Before the scheduled end of the project, the Delegation of the European Union in Kyiv and the Council of Europe agreed to extend it for two more years with additional funding of 1 000 000 Euro. This will allow to build on the results achieved so far and to continue reforming the Ukrainian media landscape in line with European standards.

A high-level conference “Safeguards for media pluralism in Ukraine” with the participation of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Ms Dunja Mijatovic (in the middle), took place in Kyiv on 13 October 2010.

2.3 Project on media in Moldova

Title

Democracy Support Programme, Moldova (media component)

Project area

Moldova

Budget

€ 400 000 for the media component

Funding

50% European Commission
50% Council of Europe

Implementation

Media Section (Directorate of Co-operation, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs)

Duration

1 January 2010 – 30 June 2011

Objective

General objective:
Strengthen the judiciary, the prosecution service, the police, the ombudsman institution, the media and the Parliament of Moldova, through the application of European standards in their work.

Media component:
Promote the freedom and pluralism of the media in Moldova, in particular through:

    strengthening the professionalism and introducing guarantees for the independence of the broadcasting regulatory authority, the Coordinating Council on the Audiovisual;
    establishing Teleradio-Moldova as a genuine public-service broadcaster with an independent editorial line;
    facilitating dialogue on ethical and responsible journalism.

Activities and results in 2010

The Council of Europe assisted the Coordinating Council of the Audiovisual (CCA) to develop a new media monitoring methodology and to train staff on its use. This dramatically improved CCA's capacity for independent and transparent media monitoring in accordance with European standards.

CCA successfully used the new methodology to monitor the media coverage of early parliamentary elections by national broadcasters according to the legal requirements. CCA issued three detailed media monitoring reports. Its work was commended by national and international media organisations.

The Council of Europe assistance coupled with the efforts of the new management of Teleradio Moldova (TRM) and continuous support from other organisations, contributed to TRM’s enhanced impartiality and to its aspiration to cover political and social issues in a balanced, neutral and informative manner.

Extensive training and coaching for Teleradio Moldova management and staff significantly improved the debates on the constitutional referendum aired by the public-service broadcaster and, more generally, the quality of its political programmes.

Outside of the public-service broadcaster, some 30 Moldovan journalists were trained on issues related to the effective and balanced coverage of elections- and referendum-related stories.

The Code of Ethics for Journalists was analysed and suggestions were made to bring it in line with European standards. On this basis, a working group of media professionals prepared a new draft Code. It was extensively discussed by journalists throughout Moldova with a view to its wide adoption.

Assessment and follow up

At the second meeting of the project’s Steering Committee in December 2010, the media component received a unanimous positive assessment by the beneficiaries, by the authorities, by the EU delegation and by other local and international actors in Moldova. Observers have noted a significant improvement in the independent and professional functioning of the public-service broadcaster and the broadcasting regulatory body. The work towards adopting a journalistic code of ethics has also made very good progress.

The project continues into 2011. It will be complemented by activities under a newly started two-year joint programme “Promoting freedom, professionalism and pluralism of the media in the South Caucasus and Moldova” which will continue throughout 2011 and 2012.

Round-table on presentation and discussion of CCA’s final media monitoring report, elaborated with Council of Europe support (13 December 2010). From left to right: Mrs Birute Abraitiene, the then Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr Gheorghe Gorincioi, the chairman of CCA, and Mrs Corina Fusu, then chairwoman of the Parliamentary Commission on Media.

2.4 Project on journalism teaching in Azerbaijan

Title

Supporting the development of journalism teaching in Azerbaijan

Project area

Azerbaijan

Budget

€ 590 840

Funding

Voluntary contributions, Norway and Turkey

Implementation

Media Section (Directorate of Co-operation, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs)

Duration

1 March 2009 – 31 December 2010

Objectives

Main objective:
Improving the professionalism of journalism graduates in Azerbaijan
Subsidiary objectives:

    The journalism curriculum and teaching practices are brought in line with European standards;
    The journalistic and pedagogical skills of university lecturers are improved;
    Teaching materials, including online learning courses and textbooks are developed;
    Stronger links are forged between journalism students and the media industry.

Activities and results in 2010

Technical know-how on best practices of journalism teaching is provided by the BBC World Service Trust in co-operation with the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Norwegian Institute of Journalism. The Council of Europe ensures that the aims of the reform and the content of the curriculum are in line with the organisation’s standards. The key beneficiary is the Journalism Department at Baku Slavic University (having replaced, with the agreement of the donor, the initially envisaged Baku State University).

In its initially proposed version, the project included three strands, which can be viewed either as separate sub-projects or as constituent parts of a comprehensive intervention:

• Curriculum modernisation;
• Enhancing teaching resources and work placements;
• Dissemination and consolidation of the results.

Due to the limited funding available, this specific project focused on the first strand, namely Curriculum modernisation. Under this strand, the project set out to achieve the following objectives:

• Promote practice-based journalism teaching;
• Improve the pedagogical and journalistic skills of university lecturers;
• Devise a modular curriculum which responds to the real needs of the media industry.

The project has been very successful in achieving all of the first phase objectives. The implementation of Phase I of the project culminated in the BSU Scientific Council approving the new modular journalism curriculum. The modular curriculum was initially developed for the following five subjects: TV Journalism, Radio Journalism, Journalism Ethics, New Media and a totally new subject for Azerbaijani journalism teaching – Photojournalism.  By the end of December 2010 the development of teaching materials for each module was completed.

In addition, another five modules on TV Technology, Radio Technology, Print Technology, Print Journalism and Introduction to Journalism were developed. By the end of the extension period (15/02/2011), the project will have created two new practical labs – a New Media newsroom and a photojournalism lab - and will have trained a basic core of university lecturers in using them for the benefit of the students.

The BBC World Service Trust has worked with academics from British, Norwegian, Irish, Turkish and US universities for the successful development and implementation of the modular curriculum

Assessment and follow up

The project has enjoyed a strong sense of ownership by the teaching staff at the Baku Slavic University and excellent support from the Rector and the management of the university. This has also been a significant factor in improving the pedagogical skills of the lecturers.

The project has created the necessary momentum for changing journalism teaching in Azerbaijan not only at Baku Slavic University but also at other universities who have shown an interest in the programme and attended conferences and seminars. Universities have also expressed an interest in achieving changes in the state standard so that new curricula can be incorporated with greater ease.

There is strong expectation on behalf of the Beneficiary, Baku Slavic University, that the project should complete Phase II as originally intended, allowing the time and necessary resources to embed the new methods and curriculum and make the systematic changes truly sustainable. Baku Slavic University has stated its firm belief that if the project should stop at the current stage, the University would not be able to implement the new curriculum, thus jeopardising its current reputation as being at the forefront of modern journalism education.

The next phase of the project will also have the added benefit of using the modular curriculum which has already been developed, as well as planned new specialist subjects, as a basis for creating new journalism curricula at other Azerbaijani universities. Phase II will particularly focus on working with Baku State University Faculty of Journalism to prepare it for the implementation of a new curriculum.

The secretariat is exploring possibilities for funding to continue with the second and third stages as initially planned and possibly to involve also Baku State University. The project’s design can also serve as a blueprint for reforming journalism education in other member states.

2.5 Project on elections in Azerbaijan

Title

Action Plan Pre-electoral assistance in Azerbaijan, media component

Project area

Azerbaijan

Budget

€ 77 410

Funding

Voluntary contributions, ordinary budget

Implementation

Media Section (Directorate of Co-operation, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs)

Duration

1 April - 31 December 2010

Objective

General objective:
To assist Azerbaijan in conducting the 7 November elections in line with the international standards on the matter.

Media component:
To assist with measures to achieve fair, balanced and impartial media coverage of the election campaign.

Activities and results in 2010

In the run-up to the presidential elections, TV, online and print journalists were trained in Baku and in Mingachevir on the fair and balanced media coverage of election campaigns.

A TV debate between an international expert and local professionals raised awareness amongst journalists and the general public on the responsibilities of media in the run-up to the presidential elections, critically assessed the media performance and considered ways of improving the coverage.

The monitoring of coverage elections by selected TV channels and printed media started on 7 October, and lasted for a month. This monitoring resulted in two reports – an interim one and a final one. The final report was presented at a dedicated seminar (Baku, 13 December 2010) where conclusions and lessons learned were discussed.

The monitoring reports concluded that the media, especially the television channels, largely failed to provide voters with the fair and balanced information they needed to make an informed choice in the elections. Only the ruling party met the legal threshold of 60 registered candidates that would have allowed free airtime on TV and free space in state-owned newspapers. The Central Election Commission decided to provide each candidate with four minutes of free airtime, a welcome decision which the authorities could consider enshrining in law for future parliamentary elections.

According to the monitoring reports, TV generally under-reported the election. They focused to a considerable extent on technical and procedural issues rather than political substance.

Newspapers devoted a larger proportion of their space to election coverage, but this too tended to be highly partisan in most instances. Papers which attempted some balance between parties and candidates were a distinct exception.

Assessment and follow up

An important achievement of the project was that it raised the awareness mainly of media professionals but also of public authorities and the general public of the importance and the substance of fair, balanced and impartial media coverage of election campaigns.
The following recommendations were proposed in the Council of Europe report on the action plan:

    Media would benefit from enshrining the principles of balance and fairness in electoral coverage, along with a commitment to provide information to voters, into a widely-respected single voluntary code of conduct respected and followed by media professionals.
    Media should consider offering the right of reply to criticism of candidates, preferably through seeking the viewpoint of all affected parties in any given story, or by offering a subsequent opportunity to reply with equal prominence.
    Media should aim at broadcasting impartial voter information programmes.
    Media outlets should consider training for editors and journalists in the skills required for election reporting.
    With regard to Section IV of Recommendation No. R(99)15 of the Council of Europe, the public authorities need to take appropriate steps to guarantee the safety of the media and individual journalists, to help ensure impartial reporting of election campaigns.
    The decision of the CEC to allocate free airtime is to be welcomed, and the authorities should consider enshrining it in law for future parliamentary elections.

2.6 Project on elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Title

Action Plan Pre-electoral assistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, media component

Project area

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Budget

€ 81 860

Funding

Voluntary contributions, ordinary budget

Implementation

Media Section (Directorate of Co-operation, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs)

Duration

1 February – 15 November 2010

Objective

General objective:
To assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in conducting the 3 October general elections in line with the international standards on the matter.

Media component:
To assist with measures to achieve fair, balanced and impartial media coverage of the election campaign.

Activities and results in 2009

The monitoring of media coverage of the election campaign conducted by a professional association started on 3 September and terminated on 1 October. Press conferences were held at the beginning of the official campaign to announce the launching of the monitoring and mid-campaign to present the results of the interim reports. The closing conferences were organised in Sarajevo (19 October) and in Banja Luka (20 October). At a conference in Neum on 5-6 November, participants discussed the final monitoring report and agreed on recommendations for future elections.

Council of Europe standards regarding media independence and election coverage were presented to journalists and members of political parties during two conferences held in Sarajevo (11 May) and Neum (30 June - 1 July).

Four workshops on the fair and balanced media coverage of election campaigns for journalists from print and electronic media were organised. Journalists and news editors took part in a study visit to North-Rhein Westphalia from 4 to 11 May to gain first-hand experience on the local elections held there.

Assessment and follow up

An important achievement of the project was that it raised the awareness mainly of media professionals but also of public authorities and the general public of the importance and the substance of fair, balanced and impartial media coverage of election campaigns. Local media professionals’ associations have taken ownership of these issues and are planning a systematic efforts to continue training journalists on the fair and balanced coverage of elections. The Council of Europe will provide assistance within the limits of its resources.

3 Analysis and conclusions

3.1 Relevance

The cooperation and assistance activities implemented in 2010 aimed at promoting in law and in practice the right to freedom of expression and information, including freedom of the media, as guaranteed in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore these activities are directly relevant to the overall mission of the Council of Europe, notably to one of its essential objectives - protecting and promoting the right to freedom of expression and information.

The activities addressed the needs identified by the Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms and responded to the specific requests of member states with the final aim of bringing the legislative framework on freedom of expression and information, its implementation and media professionalism in the target countries closer in line with Council of Europe standards.

3.2 Added value

Throughout the years, the Council of Europe has developed a unique collection of standards in respect of freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media. These standards are also used by the European Union as part of their political criteria for assessing the eligibility of future members. Therefore, the assistance and cooperation activities not only help member states to fulfil their commitments towards the Council of Europe but also assist the relevant countries to meet the criteria for EU membership. More generally, they contribute to promoting democracy in member states. The Council of Europe assistance work carries additional legitimacy because it is based on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and on the findings of the Organisation’s monitoring mechanisms.

3.3 Effectiveness and efficiency

Priorities and concrete approaches were continuously reviewed to ensure that the activities remain relevant and effective. Synergies and complementarities were sought between activities under the ordinary budget, joint programmes, voluntary contributions and other initiatives such as election action plans (in Azerbaijan and in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2010). Regular reporting to donors and meetings of steering committees helped to assess results and tailor future activities accordingly. To maximise the effectiveness, the Media Section ensured close cooperation and coordination with other international organisations such as the European Commission, European Union Delegations, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and OSCE field missions.

The activities were implemented with limited ordinary budget funding and staff, demonstrating a high efficiency of the secretariat involved.

3.4 Impact and sustainability

The substantial impact of the activities is confirmed by the positive feedback from the beneficiaries and by independent reports. A notable example is Moldova where substantial progress was made towards a professional and independent performance of the public-service broadcaster TRM and of the broadcasting regulatory body CCA. In Azerbaijan, the successful completion of a first stage of reform of the journalism education was praised by the beneficiary (Baku Slavic University) and by international observers. As a result, the main Azerbaijani university (Baku State) has shown interest in getting involved in a similar project. In Ukraine, the significant impact, including the adoption of an access to information law, persuaded the donor – the EU delegation – to extend the funding for the joint programme there for two more years with additional funding of one million Euros.

In order to ensure sustainability, the efforts need to continue and to be expanded, aiming at further reforming of the regulatory framework for the media, enhancing its implementation in line with Council of Europe standards and improving the professionalism of media managers and journalists.

3.5 Cooperation with other organisations

The relationship with the European Commission and with the European Union delegations in the respective member states continued to be very good. Satisfied with the results of previous and current joint programmes with the Council of Europe, the European Union approved some 2 million Euro additional funding for work in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in 2011 and 2012.

The Council of Europe had also excellent co-operation with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and generally with OSCE field offices in beneficiary states. It should be noted that the first participation in another organisation’s event of the newly appointed OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Ms Dunja Mijatovic, was in a Council of Europe conference in Tbilisi followed later on by another conference in Kyiv.

Extensive contacts were maintained also with many other international and national governmental and non-governmental organisations. The cooperation with the Council of Europe was appreciated by our partners because it brought the added value of the organisation’s wide-ranging expertise and its comprehensive set of standards in the field of freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

3.6 Conclusions and the way ahead

Guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression and information in all member states has to be a permanent priority for the Council of Europe. The Council is the only international organisation that has both the standards and the expertise to work successfully in that direction. It is essential for the relevance of the Council of Europe and for the accomplishment of its mission to reinforce its capacity for timely, relevant and strategically aimed assistance and co-operation work in the area of freedom of expression and information. The 2010 ordinary budget provision for media activities (82 000) is not sufficient for addressing in a comprehensive way the most pressing challenges in the 10 or so “critical” member states, let alone to deal with other emerging problems throughout the continent.

More resources could be secured through internal redeployment and through a flexible arrangement with the European Union (of the kind of the Eastern Partnership Facility) devoted specifically to freedom of expression. Such a streamlined arrangement would save significant time (and money) now being spent on preparing proposals, long negotiations and extensive reporting. These “efficiency savings” could be re-directed to useful activities.

By reinforcing its work on freedom of expression, the Council of Europe will also stimulate more political commitment on behalf of its member states to align their law and practice with the organisation’s standards. The significant results achieved in Moldova in 2010 are a positive example in this respect.

The simplification of internal administrative rules and procedures would also free significant productive time and increase the motivation of staff.