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Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI)

2nd meeting – 27 November 2012 – 09h30 to 30 November 2012 – 17h00
(Strasbourg, Palais de l’Europe, Room 2)



Bissera Zankova, Bulgaria
Emir Povlakic, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Anne Catherine Berg, EBU
Joke Hermes, Gender expert, The Netherlands

Björn Janson
Onur Andreotti

    1. The Secretariat had made an outline for the structure of a possible recommendation.
    2. Bissera Zankova had prepared a preliminary draft recommendation.
    3. On the basis of these documents a structure for a recommendation was established (see appendix).
    4. Exchanges of views between the Secretariat and the experts would continue via e-mail.



      · Media refers to traditional and new forms of media – media ecosystem ( Rec on a new notion of media)
      · Gender is the ‘social definition’ of women and men.

(UNESCO draft framework gender-sensitive indicators for Media: “Differences between males and females are socially constructed, changeable over time and have wide variations within and between cultures. As opposed to biologically determined characteristics (sex), gender refers to learned behaviour and expectations to fulfil a specific image of masculinity and femininity. Gender is also a socio-economic and political variable with which to analyse people’s roles, responsibilities, constraints and opportunities”).

      · Gender equality means equal opportunities for balanced/fair visibility, empowerment, responsibility and participation of both women and men in all spheres of public life, including the media. Gender equality is the opposite of gender inequality, not of gender difference.

    (UNESCO: “Women and men enjoy the same status and have equal opportunity to realize their full human rights and potential to contribute to national, political, economic, social and cultural development, and to benefit from the results. It is the equal valuing by society of both the similarities and the differences between women and men and the different roles they may choose to play. The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) sets the principles of gender equality through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life as well as education, health and employment”.)

      · Women, like men, are not a homogenous group. The existence of gender groups exposed to multiple and coexisting discrimination, even not specifically mentioned, is not ignored in this resolution.
      · The core objective of the CoE is to preserve and promote human rights and their full enjoyment, democracy and the rule of law, and all its activities must contribute to this fundamental objective.
      · Freedom of expression and information in the media is an essential requirement of democracy. Public participation in the democratic decision-making process requires that the public is well informed and has the possibility of freely discussing different opinions.
      · Media in modern societies hold an immense potential for social change as they can either hinder or hasten structural change towards gender equality.
      · Several monitoring results point out systemic underrepresentation of women in media (media organisations, media content). The past decades were often marked by neglect of a gender perspective in legislation and policy with gender equality being a partially or totally isolated issue, with other policies and fields although it is both a goal in itself and a cross-cutting issue which should be at the core of practical decision-making.
      · Gender equality is also about pluralism, the later to be taken as a condition of democracy, participation in public debate, in particular political debate (this includes the issue of media election coverage). Necessity of pluralism in media market, media internal organisation, media output, to make possible the representation of all, the availability of all positions and points of view. This has to do also with the cultural diversity.

    Genuine democracy must fully use the competences, the skills and the creativity of both women and men to build a society with a better quality of life for all and respectful of the values on which the CoE is founded. (CM (2009)68 Declaration: Making gender equality a reality)

      · Gender equality, as a principle of human rights: “(…) states should encourage effective measures to ensure that gender equality, as a principle of human rights, is respected in the media, in accordance with the social responsibility that is linked to the power they hold in modern societies”. (CM/Rec(2007)17 on gender equality standards and mechanisms)

ECHR art 10: “Everyone has a right to freedom of expression (…)”. ECHR art 14: “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex (…) or other status.” Art 1 Protocol 12 to ECHR: “The enjoyment of any right set forth by law shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex (…) or other status”.

“Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the basic conditions for its progress and for each individual’s self-fulfilment”. (ECHR case-law)

      · Gender equality is an inalienable part of democracy. Freedom of expression and gender equality are on a par with each other and the concept of “gender equality in the media” should not take them as concurrent interests.
      · Remind strategic objectives and actions contained in Chapter IV of the Beijing Action Plan, in particular Section J (women and the media).
      · States should facilitate, by effective measures, the access of women to media as a tool to personal development and means to participate in democratic society by access to information, to culture, to political debate…
      · With the changes in media ecosystem, there is “a fluid and multi-dimensional reality”, including the additional tools (interaction and engagement) that has to be took on consideration. All actors – whether new or traditional – who operate within the media ecosystem should be offered a policy framework which guarantees an appropriate level of protection and provides a clear indication of their duties and responsibilities in line with Council of Europe standards (see Rec/CM 2011 (7) on the new notion of media).
      · To accelerate the achievement of the aim to make gender equality a reality, States should guarantee a visible political commitment by setting up the necessary legislative and policy framework and implement parallel strategies and innovative and effective tools so that gender equality is recognized as a challenge by the whole of society in all its sectors and place it at the heart of different decision-making and policy-setting processes”. ( See CM (2009)68 Declaration: Making gender equality a reality)

Substance of a recommendation

      I. Gender equality within media organisations
      · equal opportunity and equal access for women and men in media work spaces, planned and consistent advocacy for gender equality in the media’s workplace policies and conditions of service;
      · balanced participation of women and men at management levels; decision making; on advisory, regulatory and monitoring bodies;
      · internal policy for promoting gender-sensitivity in media, in particular as regards public a service media and community media.

      II. Gender mainstreaming : Policies for awareness and capacity building

    · Gender sensitive media literacy as a fundamental competence not only for the young generation but also for adults and elderly people, for parents, teachers and media professionals and as an important factor for active citizenship in today's information society (see European Commission)

    · educational and vocational programs, special capacity building programs
    · prepare young people to approach new media technologies responsibly, enable them to acquire a critical vision on the gender representation in the media
    · awareness raising and capacity building for media professionals; journalists to possess in-depth knowledge on gender equality.
    · The role of the media on awareness raising on gender equality
    · Positive aspects of the use of counter stereotypes…

III. Implementation issues

      • Self-regulation, co-regulation, guidelines and codes of conduct within media organisations are the main tools, except for violations of human dignity, gender based forms of hate speech, discrimination, and incitement to violence.
      • Implementation of effective judicial remedies (legislation) on the prohibition of discrimination based on sex; incitement of hatred and/or to violence based on sex.
      • Explore the possibilities to create and introduce indicators based on international standards and good practices and adapted to the real situation in the country
      • Monitoring as a key action supervised by national strategies
      • Support good practices and networking in favour of the promotion of gender equality.
      • Regular assessments
      • Encourage new forms of open public fora and platforms off and online, for citizens’ direct interaction as a tool for public monitoring/accountability
      • Encourage the creation of internal media ombudspersons as a form of monitoring by media organisations
      • Coordinate interaction between bodies for the implementation of the indicators
      • Encourage research on gender equality in particular in access to media, gender representation in media and the working conditions in media.