Strasbourg, 15 January 2009
STEERING COMMITTEE ON
THE MEDIA AND NEW COMMUNICATION SERVICES
25 to 28 November 2008
Agora Building, Meeting Room G01
Council of Europe
During the 8th meeting, the CDMC:
- finalised and submitted to the Committee of Ministers for adoption a Draft Declaration on the role of community media in promoting social cohesion and inter-cultural dialogue;
- adopted comments on Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1836 (2008) on Realising the full potential of e-learning for education and training and on Resolution 1636 (2008) and Recommendation 1848 (2008) on Indicators for media in a democracy;
- examined the output of the groups of specialists reporting to it and decided on further action to be taken (e.g. publication of a number of reports prepared by the groups);
- assessed the degree of implementation of the Mass Media Policy Action Plan adopted at the last Ministerial Conference, concluding that, on the whole, it has completed its implementation;
- supported the elaboration of a Council of Europe convention to protect the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations conditional upon the European Commission being mandated to negotiate such a convention;
- pursued the preparation of the First Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for the Media and New Communication Services (Reykjavik, 28 and 29 May 2009);
- discussed its future work and working structures and requested the renewal of its terms of reference (until the end of 2011); it will submit proposals on the latter following its next meeting (in March 2009);
- elected its Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson and two members of the Bureau.
Items 1 and 2. Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda
1. The Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC) held its 8th meeting from 25 to 28 November 2008 at the Council of Europe’s Agora Building in Strasbourg.
2. The meeting was chaired by Mr Matthias Traimer (Austria). At the outset, the Chairperson informed the CDMC, and the Committee noted with sadness, the bereavement of Mr Nazim Isayev, who attended previous CDMC meetings in respect of Azerbaijan. The Chairperson welcomed, in particular, those participants attending a CDMC meeting for the first time. The list of participants is set out in Appendix I. The CDMC adopted the agenda, as set out in Appendix II, and the order of business (document CDMC(2008)OT2) subject to certain changes.
3. Mr Jan Kleijssen, Director of Standard-Setting in the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs, made opening remarks evoking inter alia: the interplay and potential synergies between different steering committees (and their secretariats); budgetary restraints (which, in 2009, will have an effect on possible resort to consultants and secretariat travel); visibility and impact of standard-setting work (and the need to use clear, simple and easy to understand language in standard-setting documents); and on the need to assess the added value of steering committee subordinate structures (and pay attention to the need to adapt objectives and priorities to available resources and, if necessary, to re-prioritise). Mr Kleijssen underlined the importance of the upcoming Reykjavik Ministerial Conference in setting the agenda for future Council of Europe standard-setting work on media and new communication services.
The Director also mentioned the successful European Dialogue on Internet Governance and the expected high presence of the Council of Europe during the 2008 UN-led Internet Governance Forum organised in Hyderabad (India). In a subsequent intervention (see also paragraph 25), he informed the CDMC of the decision just taken by the Secretary General that there be no Council of Europe presence at the IGF in Hyderabad. This decision was taken on security grounds in the light of the then ongoing events in Mumbai in order to ensure the safety of both Council of Europe secretariat and experts. Mr Kleijssen emphasised that the absence of a Council of Europe delegation from Hyderabad should not be interpreted as signalling a change in strategy or priorities; he confirmed the Organisation’s ongoing support for the IGF process.
The Director thanked Finland for the voluntary contribution made towards funding work on a possible Council of Europe neighbouring rights convention, although significant additional resources will be needed in order to accomplish this work. If resources were to come out of the ordinary budget, it will be necessary for the CDMC to revise its priorities.
Finally, the Director thanked the Chairperson for his productive chairmanship, during which the CDMC produced inter alia 12 standard-setting instruments and contributed to advancing Council of Europe work particularly as regards internet governance.
4. In response to remarks concerning the budget, the Chairperson underlined the importance of the work being carried out for both the media and society at large. He also signalled the need to support this work with adequate resources, including in Secretariat terms, bringing resources into line with expected results.
The overstretching of the Secretariat resources has led, once again, to the late delivery of meeting documents (including documents for adoption and order of business). Several delegations complained of this and also requested that possibilities be explored for the easy and rapid downloading of documents or packages of documents. Certain of them complained that certain documents could not be retrieved or opened properly. The CDMC asked the Secretariat to look into these matters.
3. Decisions of the Committee of Ministers of interest to the work of the CDMC
5. The CDMC noted that, on 24 September 2008, the Committee of Ministers took note of the last CDMC meeting report.
On the same date, the Committee of Ministers took note of the Guidelines to assist Internet Service Providers in their practical understanding of, and compliance with, key human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Information Society, in particular with regard to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (now called Human rights guidelines for Internet service providers) and of the Guidelines to assist online games providers in their practical understanding of, and compliance with, human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Information Society, in particular with regard to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (now called Human rights guidelines for online games providers).
6. The CDMC adopted comments on Recommendation 1836 (2008) on Realising the full potential of e-learning for education and training and on Resolution 1636 (2008) and Recommendation 1848 (2008) on Indicators for media in a democracy. It asked the Secretariat to transmit these comments to the Committee of Ministers.
7. The CDMC took note of the Committee of Ministers’ invitation1 to steering committees “to give, within their respective terms of reference, due attention in their current and future activities to the need for member states to avoid and remedy any discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity and to make proposals for specific intergovernmental and other activities designed to strengthen, in law and in practice, the equal rights and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and to combat discriminatory attitudes against them in society” and of document CM/Inf(2008)41 on action to foster gender equality and the related Committee of Ministers decisions2.
The CDMC decided to explore gender and LGBT issues when drafting standard-setting texts. In the immediate future, this concerns a draft recommendation being finalised on measures to protect children against harmful content and behaviour and to promote their active participation in the new information and communications environment and the texts being prepared for adoption at the next specialised Ministerial Conference. Delegations were invited to submit suggestions in this connection.
4. Work programme for the CDMC in 2009
8. The CDMC decided to submit its terms of reference to the Committee of Ministers for renewal without significant changes. It decided not to make changes at this stage to the list of observers.
Nevertheless, the CDMC discussed and embraced the need to develop a truly multistakeholder approach to its work, while recognising that, in an inter-governmental context, final decisions lie with member states. This should not prevent developing broader consultation and participation mechanisms, including in agenda-setting. The European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) organised at the Council of Europe and the UN-led Internet Governance Forum (IGF) were referred to as possible inspiration. The Steering Committee also noted with interest the Council of Europe co-management model operated in the youth sector. However, it observed that developing a truly multistakeholder approach for Council of Europe work on media and new communication services would in all likelihood require additional resources.
5. Draft instruments or texts for consideration by the CDMC
Standard-setting texts for submission to the Committee of Ministers for adoption
9. Subject to certain amendments, the CDMC welcomed and approved the draft declaration on the role of community media in promoting social cohesion and inter-cultural dialogue prepared by the Group of Specialists on Media Diversity (MC-S-MD). It decided to submit it to the Committee of Ministers for adoption.
10. The CDMC also welcomed the draft recommendation on measures to protect children against harmful content and behaviour and to promote their active participation in the new information and communications environment, prepared by the Group of Specialists on Human Rights in the Information Society (MC-S-IS). It noted its relevance and timeliness (having regard for example to certain national strategies, e.g. Germany) and its complementary character to previous standard-setting instruments (e.g. on media literacy and on internet filters). However, the Steering Committee decided to postpone its finalization to the next meeting to ensure that delegations can liaise with relevant national authorities.
It was agreed that delegations should forward their comments on this text to the Secretariat by 25 January 2009.
Other documents prepared by the groups of specialists
11. The CDMC took note with satisfaction of various other documents (listed below) prepared by or under the authority of the groups of specialists; they offer a wealth of information and good practices which will be helpful to authorities working on the issues concerned. The CDMC decided that they should be published (under a suitable title) on relevant Council of Europe web pages and, resources permitting, updated regularly. Paper versions could also be envisaged, perhaps grouping them by theme and including relevant previous reports or documents.
Group of Specialists on Human Rights in the Information Society (MC-S-IS)
- Report on the policy-oriented rationale and recommendations on human dignity between media policies and media
- Report on emerging issues and trends in respect of, on the one hand, the protection of intellectual property rights and the use of technical protection measures in the context of the development of new communication and information services (and the Internet) and, on the other hand, the fundamental right to freedom of expression and free flow of information, access to knowledge and education, the promoting of research and scientific development and the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions and artistic creation and, if appropriate, make concrete proposals for further action in this area
- Report by Andrea Millwood Hargrave towards the “Preparation of a Standard Setting Instrument for the Protection of Minors from Harmful Content”
Group of Specialists on Media Diversity (MC-S-MD)
- Report on methodology for the monitoring media concentration and media content diversity
- Report on the situation in member states regarding the democratic and social contribution of digital broadcasting
- Report on possible support measures for independent productions
Group of Specialists on public service media in the information society (MC-S-PSM)
- Report on how member states ensure the legal, financial, technical and other appropriate conditions required to enable public service media to discharge their remit
- Report on good practices of public service media as regards promoting a wider democratic participation of individuals
- Report on Contribution of public service media in promoting social cohesion and integrating all communities and generations; implementation of the Committee of Ministers Recommendation Rec(97)21 on media and the promotion of a culture of tolerance
6. Implementation of Council of Europe standards on media and freedom of expression prepared under the authority of the CDMC
12. The CDMC acknowledged that certain of the reports prepared by the groups of specialists (see item 5 above) amount to follow up of the implementation of standard-setting instruments (e.g. on how member states ensure the legal, financial, technical and other appropriate conditions required to enable public service media to discharge their remit; on contribution of public service media in promoting social cohesion and integrating).
13. The CDMC discussed other non-binding instruments which could be the subject of follow-up as to their implementation by Council of Europe member states (e.g. public service value of the internet, media literacy). It concluded that the former involves long term strategies and efforts; in consequence, assessment of implementation cannot be initiated at this early stage (the relevant recommendation having been adopted late in 2007).
By contrast, the CDMC noted that a number of member states are taking concrete action on the media literacy front (the relevant recommendation having been adopted late in September 2006); reference was made during the meeting in particular to the Russian Federation. Further, the steering committee welcomed work being done on the subject by other Council of Europe departments (DGIV - Directorate of Education). The CDMC concluded that it would be desirable to prepare a questionnaire on the subject; the responses from countries that have already made some progress on this subject could serve as useful inspiration to member states striving to put in place a media literacy strategy.
14. The elaboration by Mr David Banisar at the request of the CDMC of a thematic study examining developments in national legislation since 2001 concerning the fight against terrorism which have a bearing on freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media also contributes to assessing implementation of relevant Council of Europe standards. The CDMC took note of the study and of the outcome of the conference held on 17 and 18 November in Amsterdam and hosted by the Dutch government.
The CDMC expressed interest in respect of the follow-up proposed by the Bureau, namely preparing a resolution on the subject for adoption at the Reykjavik Ministerial Conference (cf. also paragraph 28); it welcomed the draft resolution prepared by the Secretariat under the Bureau’s authority. Certain delegations strongly supported this approach and proposed an item to be inserted on the programme and discussion time set aside at the Ministerial Conference. However, the CDMC decided that further consultation was needed in this respect with other national authorities. It requested that the Secretariat rapidly update the draft in light of CDMC discussions in order to allow the consultation process to start without delay.
15. The CDMC also noted that work being carried out by the Committee of Experts for the Development of Human Rights (DH-DEV) reporting to the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) amounts, to some extent, to follow-up up to the 1997 recommendation on "hate speech". The CDMC recalled that, when considering a PACE recommendation on the subject, it concluded that there was no need at present to update this recommendation, but further efforts were desirable towards its implementation (see CDMC(2007)015, CDMC comments on PACE Recommendations).
16. Finally, the CDMC noted that the Human rights guidelines for Internet service providers and on Human rights guidelines for online games providers (see also paragraph 5 above) were officially launched during a press conference on 3 October 2008. The representatives of the business sector present at the launching event, Messrs Michael Rotert, Vice-President of the European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA) and Patrice Chazerand, Secretary General of the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE), were very positive in terms of future take-up of the guidelines by the business organisations concerned.
The CDMC agreed with Messrs Rotert and Chazerand on the desirability of a follow-up evaluation event on the guidelines in a few months time, be it within the framework or on the fringes of a CDMC meeting or as a separate event. It asked the Secretariat to explore this in consultation with EuroISPA and ISFE in light of resources available and budgetary implications.
7. Possible Council of Europe convention on the Protection of the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations
17. The CDMC welcomed the report and conclusions of the ad hoc group set up to take stock of this matter and thanked the group warmly for its work. It noted its conclusions and proposals.
CDMC members evoked the opportunities for broadcasters in the digital environment and related challenges; there are urgent problems in need of addressing (protection of signal as opposed to the already protected content, reference also being made to pre-broadcasting signals, simulcasting and webcasting).
18. Many delegations supported the elaboration of a Council of Europe convention to protect the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations. No delegation opposed the project, which was also supported by various observers. It was suggested that, as part of the needs and interest assessment, it would be desirable for delegations to provide information on the likelihood of their ratification of or accession to such a convention.
Delegations of Council of Europe member states that are also members of the European Union made their support conditional upon the European Commission being mandated to negotiate such a convention. The CDMC asked the Secretariat to seek further information on this before the matter is discussed further. The question was also raised of the likely ratification of or accession to the convention by the European Union.
The CDMC decided to resume discussion of this matter at its next meeting (25 and 26 March 2009).
19. The CDMC thanked Finland for its voluntary contribution to this project; it expressed the view that the question of funding will have to be considered before a final decision is taken.
8. Operation and functioning of media complaints procedures and media complaints bodies in member states
20. The CDMC noted the conclusions and proposals of the expert round-table held on 15 October 2008. It decided that broader consultation with interested parties (including representatives of victims or victims’ associations) and further work will be needed beyond the expiry of the current ad hoc terms of reference (31 December 2008).
It concluded that further work can be done in the framework of the CDMC’s general terms of reference and, in due course, of implementation of the Action Plan to be adopted at the 1st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for the Media and New Communication Services (Reykjavik, 28 and 29 May 2009).
9. Possible future mechanism in respect of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights
21. The CDMC noted that, for want of further information on arguments for and against, the competent Committee of Ministers Rapporteur Group (the GR-H) did not make a proposal in this respect, but decided to discuss it at a later meeting. It also took note of the letter sent by the CDMC Chair to the Chairperson of the GR-H transmitting the Bureau report and background paper on the subject. The CDMC decided to come back to this subject at a future meeting in light of Committee of Ministers discussions and/or decisions.
10. Work of the CDMC’s subordinate bodies
22. The CDMC took note of the end-of-mandate output of its groups of specialists (the terms of reference of the MC-S-IS, MC-S-MD and MC-S-PSM expired at the end of 2008). It warmly thanked the groups and, in particular, specialists whose personal efforts made these results possible.
23. The CDMC agreed to postpone consideration of its subordinate working structures until its next meeting (in March 2009) given that the work of such bodies should derive from the Action Plan that will be adopted at the Reykjavik Ministerial Conference in May 2009. It asked the Secretariat to prepare proposals for subordinate bodies and their terms of reference following discussions on the Ministerial Conference draft texts, having regard as appropriate to the proposals made by the former groups of specialists, and having regard also to budgetary constraints.
The objective should be to enable the subordinate bodies to start working during the second half of 2009.
11. Internet Governance and implementation of WSIS action lines
24 The CDMC took note of the Council of Europe Secretary General’s submission to the 2008 UN-led Internet Governance Forum (IGF) (Hyderabad, 3 to 6 December 2009) entitled “Internet – a critical resource for all”. It welcomed the considerable work done by the Secretariat in respect of the IGF and as regards WSIS action lines. It also noted the decision taken by the Secretary General that there be no Council of Europe presence at the IGF in Hyderabad (see paragraph 3, second sub-paragraph).
25 The CDMC welcomed the holding on Council of Europe premises on 21 and 22 October 2008 in Strasbourg of the first European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG). The EuroDIG was co-organised by various stakeholder, including member states. Several CDMC delegations encouraged the Council of Europe to promote the regular holding of a European IGF-like event.
12. First Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for the Media and New Communication Services (Reykjavik, 28-29 May 2009)
26. The CDMC devoted considerable time to the preparation of the Ministerial Conference. In particular, it revisited the programme and examined the documents being prepared for adoption at the Conference. It asked the Secretariat to work further on them in light of comments made during the meeting and renewed the invitation to CDMC delegations to transmit comments in writing and to prepare papers that will contribute to the discussions of various topics at the Ministerial Conference following interest already expressed: Germany (a paper on the German initiative "A net for children"), Cyprus, Denmark and Iceland (public service media’s outreach to young audiences), Montenegro (regulatory authorities and convergence), Austria (users’ empowerment and literacy), Romania (user-generated content, including from authors rights’ perspective). For its part, ENPA offered to elaborate on the effectiveness of Council of Europe standards (in particular as regards the protection of journalists).”
27. The CDMC confirmed that the Conference will focus on a new notion of media and the resulting standard-setting requirements. This is closely related to the question of trust in the media which should remain the main thrust of the intellectuals’ debate that was proposed for broadcasting on the eve of the Conference. The texts for adoption will be an umbrella Political Declaration and a Resolution on “A new notion of media?” associated to an Action Plan.
In this connection, the CDMC welcomed a report by Mr Karol Jakubowicz on the subject and the opportunity to hold an exchange of views with him. It found the report of great interest and agreed to use it as a background document for the Ministerial Conference. The CDMC asked Mr Jakubowicz to elaborate further on certain specific aspects, on which Steering Committee members agreed to provide additional feedback by mid-January 2009. A revised version of the report should be available by mid-February. The Steering Committee also decided to invite Mr Jakubowicz to make a key note presentation during the Conference.
28. As regards a specific Ministerial Conference resolution on “Developments in anti-terrorism legislation in Council of Europe member states and their impact on freedom of expression and information”, the CDMC decided that further consultation was needed in this respect with other national authorities (see paragraph 14 above). Subject to this caveat, a number of delegations expressed their appreciation for the text prepared at the request of the Bureau, which they considered balanced; observers also expressed their support. One delegation already announced that their anti-terrorism legislation would be revised shortly with a view to ensuring that human rights, including freedom of expression, are fully respected.
The drafting style of this draft resolution was also commended. In light of it, the CDMC decided to change the drafting style of its documents. Texts should be easy to understand. The CDMC asked the Secretariat to re-draft the texts for adoption at the Ministerial Conference accordingly. This decision also applies to standard-setting instruments (recommendations and declarations) transmitted to the Committee of Ministers for adoption.
29. The CDMC also discussed a draft Ministerial Conference resolution on “Internet governance and critical Internet resources”, setting out the Council of Europe’s vision of Internet governance and further action needed, particularly in standard-setting terms. In this connection, the Steering Committee took note of and thanked the Secretariat for an overview and background paper on internet governance and critical internet resources from a Council of Europe perspective.
The CDMC requested that the Secretariat update the draft resolution in light of CDMC discussions. Some delegations evoked the possibility of a Council of Europe convention on states mutual responsibility and commitments in respect of international Internet transit.
30. In line with Committee of Ministers’ instructions, the CDMC decided to explore gender and LGBT issues when drafting these and other texts.
13. Standing Committee on Transfrontier Television (T-TT)
31. The CDMC took note of progress made on the revision of the European Convention on Transfrontier Television following the 43rd meeting of the T-TT on 12 to 14 November 2008 and of the remaining steps to be taken. Delegations of the CDMC, and in particular those from member States who were not represented at the 43rd meeting of the T-TT were invited to comment by 9 January 2009 on the draft text of the Convention as provisionally agreed by the T-TT. The CDMC also noted that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe would comment on the draft revised Convention.
14. Information on the work of, and co-operation with, other Council of Europe bodies, of interest to the CDMC
32. At the request of the Secretariat of the Ad Hoc Committee on E-Democracy (CAHDE), the CDMC examined media-related aspects of that Committee’s draft recommendation on electronic democracy. CAHDE’s Secretariat acknowledged the CDMC’s contribution to the elaboration of this instrument. The CDMC warmly welcomed the draft, suggested minor drafting adjustments and expressed support for its adoption. The Report on good practices of public service media to promote a wider democratic participation of individuals, prepared by one of the CDMC groups of specialists, will serve to illustrate certain parts of the CAHDE recommendation. The recommendation should inspire media seeking to promote democratic participation through electronic means.
33. The CDMC also took note of work of interest to it being done by other Council of Europe bodies (see also paragraph 15). The Bulgarian delegate reported on the conference “Human Rights in culturally diverse societies: challenges and perspectives” organised by the Council of Europe and hosted by the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands in the Hague, the Netherlands, on 12 and13 November 2008. She also reported on the 37th meeting of the Committee of Experts for the Development of Human Rights (DH-DEV) (the Hague, 14 November 2008.
15. Other information of interest to the work of the CDMC
34. The delegate from France provided information on relevant issues related to the French Presidency of the European Union.
36. The CDMC took note of the preparation of Safer Internet Day 2009 (to be held on 10 February) and the European Commission’s call to all interested bodies and entities to contribute to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world. The previous editions of Safer Internet Day have been very successful. In 2008, it involved over 130 organisations in 56 countries, organising local, national and pan-European events ranging from safety sessions in schools and competitions for young people to public meetings and conferences.
In 2009, the organisers are hoping for an even greater number of participants in the Safer Internet Day activities in an even greater number of countries. They propose that Safer Internet Day Committees be set up in each participating country and bring together relevant stakeholders. Those Committees will have access to a common set of tools in this concerted effort.
More detailed information with suggestions for possible activities and an indicative calendar about Safer Internet Day 2009 can be found at www.saferinternetday.org. Stakeholders wishing to take part are invited to register with the organisers (SIDemail@example.com).
37. The CDMC elected Delia Mucica (Romania) as its Chairperson, Andris Mellakauls (Latvia) as its Vice-Chairperson and Emir Povlakic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) as member of its Bureau. Elfa Yr Gylfadóttir (Iceland) was re-elected for a second term of office as a member of the Bureau. The remaining members of the Bureau are Garegin Chugaszyan (Armenia), Frédéric Riehl (Switzerland) and Luís Santos Ferro (Portugal).
The CDMC warmly thanked the outgoing Chairperson, Matthias Traimer (Austria), for his contribution to the CDMC work and his highly productive two-year chairmanship.
17. Administrative and budgetary matters
38. The Secretariat informed the CDMC of relevant issues and developments relating to administrative (including staff changes) and budgetary matters (see also paragraph 3).
18. Dates of next meetings
39 The 9th meeting of the CDMC is scheduled for 25 and 26 March 2009 and it will be preceded by a Bureau meeting on 24 March (afternoon). These meetings will be mostly devoted to the preparation of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for the Media and New Communication Services (Reykjavik, 28-29 May 2009) and, more particularly, to the finalisation of documents for adoption at the Conference. The 10th CDMC meeting will be held on the eve of the Ministerial Conference. As regards meetings of the CDMC’s Bureau, possible subordinate bodies that could derive from the future Reykjavik action plan and of the T-TT, the proposed calendar is set out in document CDMC(2008)006rev; it will only be possible to make final arrangements for certain meetings once the CDMC takes, and the Committee of Ministers confirmed, decisions concerning its subordinate bodies for 2009.
19. Items to be included on the agenda of the 9th meeting of the CDMC
40. The CDMC approved the preliminary list of items to be included in the agenda for its 9th meeting (CDMC(2008)019).
20. Other business
41. No issues were raised under this item.
21. Abridged report
42. The CDMC examined the draft abridged report on the meeting to be submitted to the Committee of Ministers (cf. document CDMC(2008)016) and adopted it subject to certain amendments. The full meeting report should be sent to members at the earliest opportunity.