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Strasbourg, 20 April 2007

MC-S-IS(2007)014

 

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GROUP OF SPECIALISTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS
IN THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

(MC-S-IS)

______

7th meeting
26 and 27 March 2007
Human Rights Building, Strasbourg
Room of the Directorate General

______

REPORT

______

Item 1 of the agenda: Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda

The Group of Specialists on Human Rights in the Information Society (MC-S-IS) held its 7th meeting in Strasbourg on 26 and 27 March 2007.

Item 2 of the agenda: Election of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson

The Group elected Mr Thomas Schneider (Switzerland) as Chairperson and Mr Michael Truppe (Austria) as Vice-Chairperson for a one-year term office.

Item 3 of the agenda: Decisions of the Committee of Ministers of interest to the work of the MC-S-IS

The Secretariat informed the Group of the new terms of reference of the MC-S-IS adopted by Ministers’ Deputies at its 985th meeting on 31 January 2007.

The Group briefly examined and discussed its new tasks with reference to the outputs which it could deliver to the CDMC during 2007 and 2008.

Item 4 of the agenda: Other information of interest to the work of the MC-S-IS.

The Secretariat informed the Group about the Pan-European conference on ethics and human rights in the information society, organised by the French National Commission for UNESCO in cooperation with the Council of Europe and UNESCO, which will be held at the Council of Europe, Palais de l’Europe, Strasbourg, on 13 and 14 September 2007.

Item 5 of the agenda: Recommendation No. R (99) 15 on media coverage of election campaigns in the light of the development of digital broadcasting services and other new communication services.

Representatives of the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association, the European Broadcasting Union and the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission provided a brief overview of their written contributions on the revised draft Recommendation. In response to, and in the light of, their written contributions, Mr Michael Truppe (Austria) presented a re-revised draft Recommendation by himself together with Mr Thomas Schneider (Switzerland) and Mr David Sanduchiand (Armenia).

There was much discussion and revision of the draft text in particular as regards:

    - the extent of the definition,
    - the scope of the reference to professional and ethical standards of the media,
    - the reference to non-linear (instead of on-demand) audiovisual media services and online (instead of web-based) news-services,
    - the extension of the standards in chapter III of the revised draft (entitled “measures concerning the broadcast media”) to cover non-linear audiovisual media services or ancillary online services of public broadcasters,
    - the development of the impact of non-linear audiovisual media services and a possible future adaptation of provisions that take this into account.

The Chairperson concluded by inviting the Secretariat to incorporate all agreed changes to the draft text and thereafter to send this to the Group for their final comments prior to its transmission to the CDMC Bureau.

Action: for the Group to send their final comments on the text as soon as possible in order for them to be integrated into the draft Recommendation by the representatives of Armenia, Austria, Switzerland in time for it to be transmitted to the CDMC Bureau which is to meet in Strasbourg on 3 and 4 May 2007.

Item 6 of the agenda: Report on the implementation of 2003 Declaration on freedom of communication on the Internet by the member States.

The Group examined and agreed the report prepared by the Ms Zornitza Anguelova (Bulgaria) and Ms Heleen Janssen (the Netherlands) together with the assistance of the Secretariat.

The report is based upon an analysis of 16 (out of 46) member states responses to questionnaire. Overall, the report indicates that there is general compliance with and respect for the principles contained in the Declaration, that it is relatively early to draw definite conclusions regarding the influence of the Declaration, and that there is no need in the short term to consider any further action regarding the implementation of the Declaration.

The Chairperson concluded by inviting the Secretariat to send the report to the CDMC Bureau and thereafter to the CDMC for examination and possible approval.

Action: for the Secretariat to send the report to the CDMC Bureau for examination and possible approval.

Item 7 of the agenda: Promoting freedom of expression and information in the new information and communications environment - guidelines on the ethical roles and responsibilities for key state and non-state actors.

The Group examined the revised draft text concerning the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in promoting freedom of expression and information in the new information and communications environment. Further drafting was carried out during informal working group sessions.

The Group was generally satisfied with the structure and components of the draft text and commented and contributed to certain aspects of its content.

The Chairperson concluded by inviting the Secretariat to revise the draft text taking into account the discussions and decisions of the Group and to re-send this to the Group for comments prior to its transmission to the CDMC Bureau.

Action: for the Secretariat to revise the draft text as soon as possible and then to re-send it to the Group for their final comments in time for it to be transmitted to the CDMC Bureau which is to meet in Strasbourg on 3 and 4 May 2007.

Item 8 of the agenda: Report on the use and impact of technical filtering measures for various types of content in the online environment, with particular regard to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and, if appropriate, make concrete proposals (e.g. in the form of a draft standard-setting instrument) for further action in this area (cf. items 19 and 23 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

Mr Michael Truppe (Austria) presented his paper on technical filtering measures, in particular with reference to the challenges and risks of filtering with regard to the right to receive and impart information in accordance with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The visibility/transparency of filters and the need for information to users regarding the functioning of filters was underlined.

Discussions in the Group highlighted several other concerns, most notably:

    - filters and children, in particular with regard to the role of the state,
    - most filters function only in/using English,
    - the need to clearly determine the information/images which should be filtered,
    - filters and age verification,
    - filters and web 2.0 search engines for multimedia,
    - the need to gather information on existing filters and best filtering practices,
    - filters and the role of Internet service providers,
    - better understanding of what content filters may restrict,
    - the need for better understanding of how filters challenge rights and freedoms,
    - how to best use filtering software, especially by parents.

The Chairperson concluded by inviting the informal working group on filtering (composed of representatives of Austria, Armenia and EDRI) to prepare, in good time, before the 8th meeting of the MC-S-IS, the following:

    - a report on filtering best practices, in particular how to best use the protection offered by filters, and

    - a draft Recommendation on the use and impact of filters and the protection of rights and freedoms.

Action: for the representatives of Armenia, Austria and EDRI to prepare and send to the Secretariat the report and draft Recommendation abovementioned at the latest by 6 July 2007.

Item 8 of the agenda: Report on emerging issues and trends in respect of, on the one hand, the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and technical protection measures (TPMs) 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 (cf. item 18 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

Mr Hubert Theuma (Malta) and Mr Øyvind Bøe (Norway) led brief discussions on IPRs which led to consensus on focusing the Group’s work on user generated content and the challenge to this increasingly popular form of expression and information by IPRs including digital rights management (DRM) and technical protection measures (TPM).

The Group considered this to be a very important and very sensitive item of its mandate. It also underlined the need for the informal working group to take account of the discussions and work of other fora and the need to ensure work carried out in this field has added value.

The Chairperson concluded by inviting the informal working group (composed of representatives of France, Malta, Norway and INSAFE/European Schoolnet) to prepare a concise report on the challenges of IPRs issues with regard to user generated content and to make concrete proposals for possible action of the group based on the Group’s terms of reference in good time before the 8th meeting of the MC-S-IS.

Action: for the representatives of France, Malta, Norway and INSAFE/European Schoolnet to prepare and send to the Secretariat the report abovementioned at the latest by 6 July 2007.

Item 9 of the agenda: Development of tools to assist key state and non-state actors 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 (cf. items 19 and 23 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

Mr David Sanduchiand (Armenia) led brief discussions on the development of such tools which led to consensus on preparing concise practical guidelines (for example in fact sheet format) for key actors on their roles and responsibilities in promoting freedom of expression and information.

The Group considered that Internet service providers, moderators of social networking sites, ombudspersons, content aggregators, games providers and public authorities were key actors which could benefit from such guidelines.

In the context of this work, the Chairperson considered it important to identify the positive obligations of member states in guaranteeing access to information and freedom of expression, to determine what would be acceptable and unacceptable restrictions on freedom of expression, and to consider how these actors should try to avoid and to mitigate challenges to freedom of expression and information.

The Chairperson invited the informal working group (composed of representatives of Armenia, Malta, Switzerland and INSAFE/European Schoolnet) to prepare concise practical guidelines for the key actors abovementioned in good time before the 8th meeting of the MC-S-IS.

Action: for the representatives of Armenia, Malta, Switzerland and INSAFE/European Schoolnet to prepare and send to the Secretariat concise practical guidelines for the key actors abovementioned at the latest by 6 July 2007.

Item 10 of the agenda: Examination of the respect for human dignity in the new communication services and, if appropriate, make concrete proposals for further action designed to complement or reinforce existing standards in this area (cf. item 27 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

Mr Thomas Schneider (Switzerland) presented his paper on human dignity making particular reference to Council of Europe Committee of Ministers’ Recommendations on video games with a racist content, and on the portrayal of violence in the electronic media.

Mr Schneider underlined the challenge to human dignity by the violence in video games and highlighted the added value of conducting a (horizontal) review of relevant Council of Europe standards. The Group took note that Mr Schneider would, together with the support of other interested Group members, conduct this review in order to prepare either a new draft instrument or to revise relevant existing standards in good time before the 8th meeting of the MC-S-IS.

Action: for the representative of Switzerland to review Council of Europe standards relating to video games and to prepare and send to the Secretariat the draft instrument and/or proposed revisions to existing standards abovementioned at the latest by 6 July 2007.

Item 11 of the agenda: Updating the Council of Europe Handbook on Internet Literacy.

There were brief discussions on the update of the Handbook. The Group took note that the representatives of Switzerland and Malta would prepare concise human rights information and references for each fact sheet of the Handbook bearing in mind the work to be carried out by the informal working group responsible for preparing concise practical guidelines for key actors on their roles and responsibilities in promoting freedom of expression and information (see agenda item 9). The Group took note that this update would be prepared in good time before the 8th meeting of the MC-S-IS.

Action: for the representatives of Malta and Switzerland to consolidate their previous contributions and thereafter to prepare and send to the Secretariat human rights information and references for each fact sheet of the Handbook at the latest by 6 July 2007.

Item 12 of the agenda: Standard-setting instrument which promotes a coherent pan-European level of protection for children from harmful content when using new communication technologies and services and the Internet, while ensuring freedom of expression and the free flow of information (cf. items 17, 19 and 23 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

Ms Zornitza Anguelova (Bulgaria) and Mr Bora Sonmez (Turkey) presented their paper regarding a standard setting instrument for the protection of children from harmful content. This led to brief discussions and a consensus on the need for the informal working group ( composed of representatives from Bulgaria, Turkey and INSAFE/European Schoolnet) to take stock of existing (international) instruments concerning the protection of the child and to consider the feasibility of and, if appropriate, prepare a first draft of a new instrument concerning the protection of children from harmful content.

Action: for the representatives of Bulgaria and Turkey to take stock of existing standards, consider the feasibility of and, if appropriate, prepare a first draft of a new instrument concerning the protection of children from harmful content, all of which should be prepared and sent to the Secretariat at the latest by 6 July 2007.

Item 13 of the agenda: Follow-up to Recommendation Rec (2006)12 on empowering children in the new information and communications environment (cf. items 23 of the Kyiv Action Plan)

Agenda item 13 was taken together with item 14 (see below).


Item 14 of the agenda: Follow-up to the action lines and general report of the Pan-European Forum on Human Rights in the Information Society: Empowering children and young people (Yerevan, 5 and 6 October 2006).

The Secretariat informed the Group that the Ministers’ Deputies, at its 985th meeting on 31 January 2007, took note of the Action Lines and General Report documents of the 2006 Forum.

The Chairperson encouraged all members of the Group to take steps to translate, disseminate and discuss the Action Lines and General Report in their respective member states and for a.

In this connection, the Secretariat informed the Group of its plans to set up a restricted (password protected access) website for the participants of the Yerevan Forum to discuss and exchange views and to report back on their progress and actions in implementing the Yerevan Action Lines.

Item 15 of the agenda: Follow-up Council of Europe work on Internet governance and on the implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) action lines regarding the media (C9) and the ethical dimensions of the Information Society (C10).

The Secretariat provided brief information on developments and preparations for the 2007 Internet Governance Forum, to be held in Rio de Janeiro on 12 to 15 November 2007, and on the forthcoming series of WSIS action line implementation meetings, to be held in Geneva from 14 to 25 May 2007, and in particular the action lines on the media (C9) on 24 May and on the ethical dimensions of the information society (C10) on 25 of May.

The Chairperson invited the Group to take note of the IGF and the WSIS action line implementation process, and to consider possible synergies, participation and contributions to these processes through the Council of Europe.

Item 16 of the agenda: Other business

There was no other business.

* * *

Appendix I

List of participants

MEMBER STATES/ETATS MEMBRES

Albania/Albanie
Mr. Taulant TOPCIU, Diplomat, Expert of Information Section, Press and Public Diplomacy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, TIRANA

Armenia/Arménie
Mr David SANDUKHCHYAN, Head of Legal Department, Project Manager, Internews Armenia, YEREVAN

Austria/Autriche
Mr Michael TRUPPE, Legal Advisor, Federal Chancellery, VIENNA

Belgium/Belgique
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

Bulgaria/Bulgarie
Ms Zornitza ANGUELOVA, Ministry of Transport and Communications, SOFIA

Ms Nelly STOYANOVA, Ministry of Transport and Communications, SOFIA

Finland/Finlande
Ms Kristina HAUTALA-KAJOS, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Education and Culture, HELSINKI

France/France
Mme Axelle HOVINE, Adjoint au chef du bureau du régime juridique de la presse et des services d'information, Direction du développement des médias, Service du Premier Ministre, PARIS

Greece/Grèce
Mme Maria GIANNAKAKI, Attachée de presse, Représentation permanente de la Grèce auprès du Conseil de l'Europe, STRASBOURG, France

Malta/Malte
Mr Hubert THEUMA, Senior Counsel for the Republic, Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, VALETTA

Moldova
Mrs Dorina ROMAN, Head of Mass Media and Public Relations Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Intergreation, CHISINAU

The Netherlands/Pays-Bas
[Apologised/excusé(e)]
Ms Heleen JANSSEN, Ministry of the Interior, DEN HAAG

Norway/Norvège
Mr Oeyvind BOE, Adviser, Departement of Media Policy and Copyrights, Ministry of Culture and Church Affaires, OSLO

Portugal
Mr Rui FERREIRA, Membre du Conseil régulateur, Entité de régulation pour les médias, LISBONNE

Russian Federation
Mr Vladislav ERMAKOV, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MOSCOW

Slovakia/Slovaquie
Mrs Sona DANOVA, Legal advisor, Human Rights Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, BRATISLAVA

Switzerland/Suisse
Mr Thomas SCHNEIDER , Spécialiste société de l'information, Office fédéral de la communication, BIENNE

Turkey/Turquie
Mr Mehmet Bora SÖNMEZ Radio and Television Supreme Council, ANKARA

Mr Nurullah ÖZTÜRK, Head of Monitoring and Evaluation Department, Deputy Head of International Relations, Radio and Television Supreme Council, ANKARA

Ukraine
Mr Andrii DESHCHYTSIA, Spokesman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, KYIV

United Kingdom/Royaume-Uni
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

OTHER PARTICIPANTS / AUTRES PARTICIPANTS

Parliamentary Assembly / Assemblée Parlementaire
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe / Congrès des Pouvoirs Locaux et Régionaux de l'Europe
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

European Audiovisual Observatory/Observatoire européen de l’Audiovisuel
[Apologised/excusé(e)]
Mr Wolfgang CLOSS, Executive Director

European Commission/Commission européenne
[Apologised/excusé(e)]
M. Gilbert DUBOIS, Chef de l'Unité de coordination pour le Conseil de l'Europe, BRUXELLES, Belgique

CDDH
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

OBSERVERS /OBSERVATEURS

Canada

Holy See/Saint-Siège
[Apologised/excusé(e)]
Monsieur Louis TER STEEG

Japan/Japon

Mexico/Mexique

United States of America/Etats-Unis d’Amérique

Nordic Council of Ministers/Conseil nordique des Ministres

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) / Organisation pour la Sécurité et la Coopération en Europe (OSCE)
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

Alliance for a Media Literate Europe
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT)/Association des Télévisions Commerciales Européennes (ACT)
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

European Digital Rights in Europe (EDRI)
Mme Meryem MARZOUKI, Présidente, European Digital Rights, PARIS, France

European Federation of Journalists / Fédération européenne des Journalistes
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

European Newspaper Publishers’ Association / Association européenne des éditeurs de journaux (ENPA)
Mrs Hannah McCAUSLAND, European Affairs Adviser, BRUSSELS, Belgium

EuroISPA
[Apologised/excusé(e)]
Mr Richard NASH, Secretary General, BRUSSELS, Belgium

Europol
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

European Schoolnet / INSAFE
Mrs Janice RICHARDSON, Insafe Project Manager, BRUSSELS, Belgium

Association of Internet Hotline Providers in Europe/INHOPE
[Apologised/excusé(e)]
Mr Denton HOWARD, Coordinator – INHOPE, International Association of Internet Hotlines, DUBLIN, Ireland

Internews
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

Internet Content Rating Association
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

Internews International
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

European Internet Coregulation Network / Réseau européen de co-régulation de l’Internet
[Apologised/excusé(e)]
Mr Laurent BAUP, Chargé de mission, Forum des droits sur l'Internet, PARIS, France

European Broadcasting Union / Union européenne de Radio-Télévision (UER)
Mme Anne-Catherine BERG, Conseiller juridique, GENEVE, Suisse

European consumers' Organisation
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

UNESCO
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

SECRETARIAT

Mr Jan MALINOWSKI, Head of Media Division, Directorate General of Human Rights - DG II/ Chef de la Division Media, Direction Générale des Droits de l’Homme - DG II (Secretary to the Committee/Secrétaire du Comité)

Mr Lee HIBBARD, Administrator, Media Division, Directorate General of Human Rights – DG II/Administrateur, Division Media, Direction Générale des Droits de l’Homme - DG II

Mrs Prof. Dr. Jur. Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir, Faculty of Law / Bifrost University, REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Subsitute member of the Venice Commission

Mr Serguei KOUZNETSOV, Secretariat of the enlarged agreement on democracy through law (Venice Commission)

INTERPRETERS/INTEPRETES

Mme Chloé CHENETIER
Mme Barbara GRUT
Mr Christopher TYCZKA

* * *

Appendix II

Agenda

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

2. Election of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson for 2007

3. Decisions of the Committee of Ministers of interest to the work of the MC-S-IS

4. Other information of interest to the work of the MC-S-IS.

5. Recommendation No. R (99) 15 on media coverage of election campaigns in the light of the development of digital broadcasting services and other new communication services.

6. Report on the implementation of 2003 Declaration on freedom of communication on the Internet by the member States.

7. Promoting freedom of expression and information in the new information and communications environment - guidelines on the ethical roles and responsibilities for key state and non-state actors.

8. Report on the use and impact of technical filtering measures for various types of content in the online environment, with particular regard to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and, if appropriate, make concrete proposals (e.g. in the form of a draft standard-setting instrument) for further action in this area (cf. items 19 and 23 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

9. Report on emerging issues and trends in respect of, on the one hand, the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and technical protection measures (TPMs) 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 (cf. item 18 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

10. Development of tools to assist key state and non-state actors 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 (cf. items 19 and 23 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

11. Examination of the respect for human dignity in the new communication services and, if appropriate, make concrete proposals for further action designed to complement or reinforce existing standards in this area (cf. item 27 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

12. Updating the Council of Europe Handbook on Internet Literacy.

13. Standard-setting instrument which promotes a coherent pan-European level of protection for children from harmful content when using new communication technologies and services and the Internet, while ensuring freedom of expression and the free flow of information (cf. items 17, 19 and 23 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

14. Follow-up to Recommendation Rec (2006)12 on empowering children in the new information and communications environment (cf. items 23 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

15. Follow-up to the action lines and general report of the Pan-European Forum on Human Rights in the Information Society: Empowering children and young people (Yerevan, 5 and 6 October 2006).

16. Follow-up Council of Europe work on Internet governance and on the implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) action lines regarding the media (C9) and the ethical dimensions of the Information Society (C10).

17. Other business