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Strasbourg, 15 October 2008

MC-S-IS(2008)014

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GROUP OF SPECIALISTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS
IN THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

(MC-S-IS)

______

10th meeting
22 September to 24 September 2008
Agora Building, Strasbourg
Room G04

_____

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 10th meeting in Strasbourg from 22 to 24 September 2008. The agenda was adopted.

Item 2 of the agenda: Decisions of the Committee of Ministers of interest to the work of the MC-S-IS

Taken together with agenda item 3.

Item 3 of the agenda: Other information of interest to the work of the MC-S-IS

The Secretariat informed the Group of the human rights guidelines for Internet Services Providers and Online Games Providers which the Ministers’ Deputies of the Council of Europe took note of on 18 September 2008. The guidelines, developed by the MC-S-IS in close cooperation with the industry, were launched at a joint press conference in Strasbourg on 3 October 2008 with representatives of the Council of Europe, the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE) and the European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA).

The Secretariat also informed the Group about the decision of the CDMC to establish an ad-hoc group of experts to take stock of the situation as regards protection of broadcasters’ neighbouring rights and to examine the feasibility of elaborating a draft Council of Europe binding instrument designed to reinforce the protection of such rights. This ad-hoc group will report back on its findings at the next meeting of the CDMC (25 to 28 November 2008).

Item 4 of the agenda: Discussion on possible themes and topics for the 1st European Ministerial Conference on media and new communication services (Reykjavik, May 2009) and the future terms of reference of the MC-S-IS

The Group discussed possible future terms of reference for Council of Europe work in the field of human rights in the information society, taking into account the CDMC paper on the elements for discussion in respect of the Ministerial Conference, and highlighted several possible themes and topics, including:

    · net neutrality especially with respect to freedom of expression and access to information in the online environment,

    · strengthening public service value and public service media in the online environment, taking into account the necessary adaptations of governance and regulation,

    · the principle of and the limits to anonymity in the online environment, taking into account its impact on the right to freedom of expression, data protection, law enforcement, privacy and other human rights,

    · content-related services, in particular the roles and responsibilities of their providers, such as search engines, online content-aggregators and social networks,

    · the human rights impact in the management of critical Internet resources, especially domain names, most notably with regard to the right to freedom of expression and information.

The Group also discussed intergovernmental working methods for CDMC subordinate bodies. Certain members expressed the need to ensure that assigned tasks are manageable and achievable and are multi-stakeholder in approach and delivery. The possibility to create ad-hoc working groups for items requiring specific expertise was also highlighted. The organisation of ‘brainstorming’ ad-hoc meetings of smaller groups of experts was considered useful by some members, especially in facilitating the drafting of draft reports, tools and standard setting reports between meetings. In general it should be up to the subordinate bodies to decide – within the general organisational and budgetary limits – about the appropriate working methods.

The Group concluded its discussion by preparing, during and on the fringes of its meeting, proposals for terms of reference or action lines for a forthcoming Ministerial action plan as well as for working methods for future Council of Europe work on promoting respect for human rights in the information society to be presented to the next meeting of the CDMC (25 to 28 November 2008) for its consideration.

Action for the Secretariat: To revise the paper on “proposals for terms of reference and working methods for future Council of Europe work on promoting respect for human rights in the information society” in time for the CDMC Bureau on 16-17 October 2008.

Action for the Group: To send comments on the draft issue paper to the Secretariat.

Item 5 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)

The Chairperson and the Secretariat introduced a revised report on copyright and freedom of expression, underlining the need to ensure protection of the interests of rights-holders while ensuring freedom of expression and access to information. The report contains a number of concrete proposals for further action, notably with regard to copyright limitations and exceptions and the impact of digital rights managements (DRM) systems.

Several members commended the balanced and objective approach of the revised report and the numerous ideas for further Council of Europe action. There was general agreement that the report should be followed up by the development of a standard-setting instrument on the basis of the possible areas for further action identified in the report.

There was considerable discussion on the draft report which led to the incorporation of a number of changes to the draft text during the meeting. On this basis, the Group agreed on the draft report.

The Chairperson thanked in particular Ms Vanessa Valcarcel, the expert consultant, for her excellent work with the Secretariat in drafting the revised report.

Action for the Secretariat: To transmit the revised report to the meeting of the CDMC Bureau on 16-17 October 2008.

Item 6 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)

The consultant expert, Professor Divina Frau-Meigs, University of Paris 3-Sorbonne, France, presented a policy paper on human dignity, an addendum to her earlier report on human dignity between media policies and media education. She highlighted the challenges of new media and services to human dignity, the risk of certain categories of people being put at a disadvantage in terms of online access or content and the need to implement human rights and dignity at the design level of new technology. She also mentioned the importance of construction of identity in relation to online activities and the governance of such identity construction.

The Group thanked the expert for the presentation and policy paper and decided that this paper should be sent to the CDMC for information.

As a corollary, the Secretariat introduced a draft discussion paper on measures to promote positive identity online, prepared by the Secretariat with contributions from the informal working group (Ukraine, Ireland and Portugal). In response, the Group welcomed this first draft and decided that more clarity was needed on (i) which groups of actors should be addressed by a possible future standard setting instrument on online identity (i.e. member states or non-state actors such as social networking sites?) and on (ii) the precise scope and added value of such work. In conclusion, the Group recommended that the issue of online identity forms part of the terms of reference of a possible future group of specialists on human right in the information society and that as one of the next steps it might be useful to contact relevant stakeholders in the development of online identity management.

Action for the Secretariat: To transmit the policy paper on human dignity to the meeting of the CDMC Bureau on 16-17 October 2008 for information.

Item 7 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)

Mr Michael Truppe (Austria) presented a draft discussion paper for a standard-setting instrument for the protection of children against harmful content, prepared with the assistance of the Secretariat. This draft recommendation encourages member states to promote the establishment of safe spaces for children on the Internet (e.g. walled ‘garden’ spaces on the Internet where children may explore safely) as well as facilitating the development of trust-marks for labelling systems and specific labels for identifying certain types of harmful content. The importance of providing for education and Internet literacy to empower children in dealing with harmful content was also underlined.

There was extensive discussion on the draft discussion paper which gave rise to the following considerations by certain members of the Group:

    · Trust-marks and labels should not restrict access to information but should be used as a tool to for example encourage parents - who would otherwise not allow their children to go online at all - to develop trust in those parts of the web that follow certain criteria with regard to appropriate content for children;

    · The impact on freedom of expression and information when applying labelling, signposting and/or filtering systems, both for the content-creator and the user, and the importance of upholding existing Council of Europe standards on filtering and labelling;

    · The importance of developing European-wide systems for content-description as a means of encouraging a Pan-European approach to protecting children against harmful content.

The discussions led to the incorporation of a number of agreed changes to the draft discussion paper during the meeting subject to the insertion of a preamble to the draft text.

The Chairperson thanked in particular Mr Michael Truppe (Austria) for his excellent work in preparing and contributing to this text and asked the Secretariat to prepare a preamble and, thereafter, send the revised text to the Group for a final round of comments.

Action for the Secretariat: To prepare a preamble to the draft standard-setting instrument and then send the revised draft instrument to the MC-S-IS for final comments and validation before then transmitting it to the meeting of the CDMC Bureau on 16-17 October 2008.

Action for the Group: To send comments on the draft standard-setting instrument to the Secretariat.


Item 8 of the agenda: Updating the Council of Europe Handbook on Internet Literacy

Mrs Janice Richardson (INSAFE/European Schoolnet) presented a new fact sheet on reporting and requesting assistance with regard to illegal and harmful content and behaviour. She informed the Group about a recent survey produced by European Schoolnet on the experiences in playing the online game “Through the Wild WebWoods” in three school classes in Surrey, United Kingdom. She also informed about the plans for Safer Internet Day 2009.

The Group welcomed the new fact sheet and decided to include it in the revised 3rd edition of the Handbook, subject to some changes notably with regard to the distinction between illegal and harmful content. The importance of adding human rights references was also reiterated.

The Chairperson thanked Mrs Janice Richardson (INSAFE/European Schoolnet) for her extensive work in preparing draft revisions to the Handbook and asked the Secretariat, subject to the addition of human rights references to the fact sheets, to transmit the revised 3rd edition of the Handbook to the next meeting of the CDMC for information.

Action for the Secretariat: To add human rights references to the Handbook and then transmit the revised 3rd edition to the meeting of the CDMC on 25 to 28 November 2008.

Item 9 of the agenda: Follow-up Council of Europe work on Internet governance and on the implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society action lines regarding the media (C9) and the ethical dimensions of the Information Society (C10)

The Secretariat provided information on the Secretariat’s preparations for the third Internet Governance Forum to be held in Hyderabad on 3 to 6 December 2008 with particular reference to the written submission of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to the IGF entitled “Internet – a critical resources for all” and to a range of workshops, main session workshops and debates inter alia on fostering security, privacy and openness) during the IGF, several of which are of direct relevance to and certain were inspired by the MC-S-IS, including:

    - Joint Council of Europe/World Broadcasting Union workshop on “governance for gatekeepers – shaping access to the Internet”,

    - Council of Europe workshop on “expression and image online - building an evolving personal identity”,

    - Council of Europe workshop on “dignity, security and privacy of children on the Internet – applying international law to protect their best interests”;

    - UNESCO workshop on “freedom of expression in cyberspace: Internet filtering and censorship”.

The Secretariat also informed the Group of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), to be held at the Council of Europe “Agora” building, on 20 and 21 October 2008. The EuroDIG is a contribution to the implementation of the IGF. Its aim is to provide an open platform for discussion and exchange between interested member states, the private sector and civil society, on European views, issues and concerns regarding the IGF’s core themes, namely fostering security, privacy, and openness on the Internet, universal access to the Internet and the management of Internet critical resources. The event is also a point of outreach to European Internet actors who will not be present in the IGF but who wish to express their views.

Item 10 of the agenda: Discussion on reporting back on national implementation of MC-S-IS facilitated standard setting documents adopted by the Committee of Ministers, in particular:

          i. Recommendation Rec(2006)12 on empowering children in the new information and communications environment;

          ii. Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)11 on promoting freedom of expression and information in the new information and communications environment;

          iii. Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)15 on measures concerning media coverage of election campaigns;

          iv. Declaration on protecting the dignity, security and privacy of children on the Internet, adopted on 20 February 2008;

          v. Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)6 on measures to promote the respect of freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters.

The Group discussed ways of improving the Group’s reporting back on the national implementation of standard-setting instruments developed by the MC-S-IS. The importance of identifying the practical effects and impact of these instruments as well as involving all stakeholders in the reporting-back process was underlined; this also included encouraging partnerships with media, business and civil society organisations in order to promote the diffusion and outreach of the Council of Europe work.

In the light of this reflection, the Group decided to propose, as part of possible future terms of reference for Council of Europe work in the field of human rights in the information society (item 4 of the agenda), to add to every standard-setting instrument sent to the CDMC a roadmap for its implementation by each stakeholder group coupled with proposed follow-up over a given period following its adoption by the Committee of Minsters. It was underlined that this proposal should include the possibility to collect feedback from all stakeholders about the actual impact of the Council of Europe’s standard-setting instruments.

Item 11 of the agenda: Other business

The Chairperson informed the Group that the 10th meeting of the MC-S-IS was its last meeting before the expiry of its terms of reference. He commended the Group for having facilitated so many standard setting instruments, non-binding guidelines and other deliverable since its inception in March 2005 as part of the implementation of the Kyiv Ministerial Conference Action Plan.

The Group and the Secretariat joined in thanking the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson for their hard work and commitment in leading the work of the Group. The Secretariat was also congratulated for its contributions to the Group’s achievements.

* * *

Appendix I

List of participants

MEMBER STATES/ETATS MEMBRES

Albania/Albanie
(Apologised/Excusé)
Mr Taulant Topciu, Desk Officer in the Press and Information Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tirana, Albania

Armenia/Armenie
(Apologised/Excusé)

Austria/Autriche
M. Michael Truppe, Legal Advisor, Federal Chancellery, Department for Media Affairs, Coordination Information Society, Vienna, Austria

Bulgaria/Bulgarie

Ms Nelly Stoyanova, Director of Information Society and Information Technologies, State Agency for Information Technology, Sofia, Bulgaria

Finland/ Finlande
Ms Kristina Hautala-Kajos, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Education and Culture, Science and Culture, Finland

France
Mme Axelle Hovine, Adjointe au chef du bureau du régime juridique, de la presse et de la Société d’Information, Direction du développement des médias, Service du Premier Ministre, Paris, France

Greece/Grèce
Mme Maria Giannakaki, Bureau de Presse et de Communication, Représentation Permanente de la Grèce auprès du Conseil de l’Europe, Strasbourg, France

Ireland/Irlande
Mr Pascal Mooney, Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin, Ireland

Malta/ Malte
Mr Hubert Theuma, Senior Counsel for the Republic, Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, Valetta, Malta

Republic of Moldova/Moldavie
(Apologised/Excusée)
Mrs Dorina Roman, Head of Mass Media and Public Relations Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova

Norway/Norvège
(Apologised/Excusée)
Espen Arneberg Børset, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, Department of Media Policy and Copyright, Oslo, Norway

Portugal
Mr Rui Assis Ferreira, Member of the Regulator Council of ERC, Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação, Regulatory Entity for the Media, Lisboa, Portugal

Mrs Tânia de Morais Soares, Head of Division/Media Monitoring Unit, Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação, Lisboa, Portugal

Russian Federation/Fédération de Russie
Ms Natalia Ivanova, Attache of the Human Rights Development Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moscow, Russia

Slovak Republic/République de Slovaquie
Mr Ronald Strehar, Senior legal adviser, Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, Section of Information Society, Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Switzerland/Suisse
Mr Thomas Schneider, Service des Affaires Internationales, Office fédéral de la communication, Bienne, Suisse

Turkey/Turquie
Mr Mehmet Bora Sönmez, Expert of International Relations Department, Ankara, Turkey

Ukraine
Ms Oksana Prikhogko, Scientific and journalistic research in media sphere regarding European standards, Commission on journalistic ethics, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kyiv, Ukraine

OBSERVATERS/OBSERVATEURS

Canada

Holy See/Saint-Siège
Dr Michael Lukas, Bischöfliche Pressestelle, Hildesheim, Allemagne

Japan/Japon

Mexico/Mexique

United States of America/Etats-Unis d’Amérique

Alliance for a Media Literate Europe (AMLA)
Mr Per Lundgren, Alliance for a Media Literate Europe, Karlstad, Sweden

Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT)/
Association des Télévisions Commerciales en Europe (ACT)

European Audiovisual Observatory/Observatoire européen de l’audiovisuel

European Broadcasting Union (EBU)/Union européenne de Radio-Télévision (UER)
Mme Anne-Catherine Berg, Conseiller juridique, Union Européenne de Radio-Télévision, Bruxelles, Belgique

M. Jacques Briquemont, Responsable des affaires publiques, Union Européenne de Radio-Télévision, Bruxelles, Belgique

European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC)/Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC)

European Digital Rights
Mme Meryem Marzouki, Présidente, European Digital Rights, Paris, France

European Internet Co-Regulatory Network

European Internet Service Provider Association in Europe (Euro-ISPA)/Association Européenne des Fournisseurs de Services Internet (Euro-ISPA) 
Mr Michael Rotert, Vice President, European Internet Service Providers’ Association (EuroISPA), Brussels, Belgium

European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA)/Associtaion Européenne des Editeurs de Journaux (ENPA)
(Apologised/Excusé)
Mr Henrik Munthe, ENPA, Brussels, Belgium

European Schoolnet
Ms Janice Richardson, eSafety Manager, European Schoolnet, Brussels, Belgium

Europol
(Apologised/Excusé)

Inhope Association

International Federation of Journalists/Fédération Internationale des Journalistes

Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA)/Association de Classification du Contenu de l'Internet (ICRA)

Internews International Europe

UNESCO
(Apologised/Excusé)
Mr Abdul Waheed Khan, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Unesco, Paris, France

OTHER PARTICIPANTS / AUTRES PARTICIPANTS

European Commission/Commission Européenne

Parlementary Assembly/Assemblée Parlementaire

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe/Congrès des Pouvoirs Locaux et Régionaux de l’Europe
(Apologised/Excusé)

OING du Conseil de l’Europe/INGO of the Council of Europe
(Apologised/Excusé)

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)/Organisation pour la Sécurité et la Coopération en Europe (OSCE)
(Apologised/Excusé)
Mr Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, Secrétaire Général, Organisation pour la Sécurité et la Coopération en Europe (OSCE), Vienne, Autriche

INTERVENANTS

Ms Divina Frau-Meigs, Professeur, Sociologue des Médias, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France

Ms Janice Richardson, Insafe Project Manager, European Schoolnet, Brussels, Belgium

Ms Vanessa Valcarcel, Madrid, Spain

SECRETARIAT

Mr Jan Malinowski, Head of Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs/Chef de la Division Médias et Société de l’Information, Direction Générale des Droits de l’Homme et des Affaires Juridiques.

Mr Lee Hibbard, Administrator, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs/Administrateur, Division Médias et Société de l’Information, Direction Générale des Droits de l’Homme et des Affaires Juridiques.

Mr Kasper Holst, Secretary to MC-S-IS, Administrator, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs/Administrateur, Division Médias et Société de l’Information, Direction Générale des Droits de l’Homme et des Affaires Juridiques.

Mrs Françoise Bachmann, Assistant, Media and Information Society Division, Directorate General of Human Right and Legal Affairs/Assistante, Division Médias et Société de l’Information, Direction Générale des Droits de l'Homme et des Affaires Juridiques.

INTERPRETERS/INTERPRETES

Mme Isabelle Marchini
Mme Corinne Mcgeorge
Mr Olivier Obrecht

* * *
Appendix II

Agenda

1. Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda

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

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

4. Possible themes and topics for the 1st European Ministerial Conference on media and new communication services (Reykjavik, May 2009) and the future terms of reference of the MC-S-IS

5. 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)

6. 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)

7. 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)

8. Updating the Council of Europe Handbook on Internet Literacy

9. 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).

10. Discussions on the reporting back on national implementation of MC-S-IS standards, in particular:

    a. Recommendation Rec(2006)12 on empowering children in the new information and communications environment;
    b. Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)11 on promoting freedom of expression and information in the new information and communications environment;
    c. Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)15 on measures concerning media coverage of election campaigns;
    d. Declaration on protecting the dignity, security and privacy of children on the Internet, adopted on 20 February 2008;
    e. Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)6 on measures to promote the respect of freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters.

11. Other business