Strasbourg, 3 October 2006

MC-S-MD(2006)012

 

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GROUP OF SPECIALISTS ON MEDIA DIVERSITY
(MC-S-MD)

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4th meeting
21 and 22 September 2006
Strasbourg, Human Rights Building
Room 20.04.Ill

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REPORT

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Items 1 and 2 on the agenda: Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda

1. The fourth meeting of the Group of Specialists on Media Diversity (MC-S-MD) was held on 21 and 22 September 2006 in the Human Rights Building in Strasbourg, and was chaired by Ms Zrinjka PERUŠKO (Croatia).

The agenda was adopted unchanged (cf Appendix II).

The list of participants is set out in Appendix I.

2. Mr Jan Kleijssen, recently appointed Director of Directorate 2 in Directorate General II (Human Rights), introduced himself to the Group and held an exchange of views with its members.

He said that he had been appointed to DGII with a dual assignment: firstly to satisfy himself that the resources were optimally used, and secondly to ensure the delivery of results. He stressed that to justify their financing, the groups must deliver tangible results. He added that it was his personal wish to improve the communication policy within the Directorate, because he found that the results of the intergovernmental work were not always made as visible as they might be. In particular, more should be done to bring the results of intergovernmental work to the notice of politicians.

In the ensuing discussion, the importance of co-operation with the other governmental organisations, notably the European Union, and with non-governmental organisations was emphasised.

Item 3 on the agenda: Information on the decisions taken by the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC), of interest to the MC-S-MD

3. The group took note of the CDMC decisions of interest to it.

The group’s attention was drawn to two tasks devolving on it for the current meeting and not appearing on its previous agendas.

4. Firstly, the CDMC asked that the MC-S-MD examine and forward its observations on a preliminary draft Declaration prepared at the CDMC’s request by the Secretariat, to deal with the potential risks posed to democracy and to democratic processes by media concentration of a magnitude that could empower the groups of media, separately or jointly, to set the agenda of public debate or to shape public opinion (cf. item 5 below).

5. Secondly, the CDMC asked that each group of specialists produce draft terms of reference for the years ahead and submit these to the Bureau then to the CDMC for consideration at their next meeting (cf. item 4 below).

Item 4 on the agenda: Revision of the Group’s terms of reference for the next two years (2007-2008)

    6. Before commencing discussions on the Group’s future terms of reference, the Secretariat recalled the recommendations of the CDMC for the preparation of draft terms of reference: “in preparing these draft terms of reference, the groups should take into account what has caused difficulties over the last two years, and concentrate on the items or tasks flowing from the Kyiv Action Plan which have not yet been executed. The terms of reference should be as specific as possible and realistic as to what might be achieved in the time frame permitted. Proposals for future work going beyond what is requested in the Kyiv Action Plan should be included if practicable and not detrimental to the groups’ priorities”.

7. The Group agreed that in the first place it would need to keep working on the proposed network of experts on media diversity and on how to set it up.

8. The experts generally agreed that the MC-S-MD should work more on the role of the medias in promoting social cohesion. The future work of the MC-S-MD should enable it to respond more effectively to item 13 of the Kyiv Action Plan (“Examine in particular how different types of media can play a part in promoting social cohesion and integrating all communities and generations.”).

9. Other areas of work were mentioned: use of the media by young people, media literacy regarding the issues of diversity and transparency in media ownership, and the role of independent productions in promoting diversity and social cohesion (cf. item 9 below).

10. Some experts wanted the MC-S-MD to work on the contribution of the media to intercultural and religious dialogue. The Secretariat recalled that the Group of Specialists on Freedom of Expression and Information in Times of Crisis had express instructions to handle this subject, and a situation where several groups covered the same subjects was to be avoided. It was further recalled that the member states’ participation in the work of the groups of specialists was not confined to the activities of a single group, and that states could send experts to different groups or arrange for different experts to contribute to the work of one group through enhanced co-operation between them at the national level.

An expert pointed out to the group that two years of work actually represented four meetings, and so the future terms of reference of the MC-S-MD should not be too extensive.

11. Following these discussions, a small group of experts met and prepared preliminary draft revised terms of reference (cf. Appendix III).

The MC-S-MD instructed the Secretariat to review the preliminary draft before transmitting it to the Bureau of the CDMC, paying particular attention to the consistency between the groups’ respective terms of reference.

The draft terms of reference transmitted to the Bureau of the CDMC are set out in document CDMC (2006)017.

Item 5 on the agenda: Examination of a draft Declaration regarding media ownership concentration and democracy

12. The MC-S-MD examined the preliminary draft Declaration on the potential risks
of media concentration to democracy and to democratic processes, drawn up by the Secretariat and contained in document MC-S-MD(2006)008.

13. The group supported the draft as a whole. Several experts nevertheless contended that the draft was not sufficiently forward-looking, should pay more attention to the evolution of the media landscape, and in particular should give more prominence to the Internet.

Other experts said that the draft should furthermore mention the dangers of self-censorship, the need to adopt measures not of a strictly economic nature to safeguard the independence of journalists, and the need for media education. Finally, they considered that the draft declaration should make reference to the role of the media in social cohesion.

14. In response to several experts’ requests, the Secretariat confirmed that experts or observers wishing to send in written comments on the draft could do so up to the next meeting of the Bureau of the CDMC to be held on 11 and 12 October 2006. It was also specified that all delegations would be able to forward observations up to the next meeting of the CDMC from 28 November to 1 December 2006 and to state their position when the draft Declaration was examined by the Steering Committee at that meeting.

Item 6 on the agenda: Examination of a draft Recommendation updating Recommendations No. R (94) 13 on measures to promote media transparency and No. R (99) 1 on measures to promote media pluralism

15. The MC-S-MD resumed its examination of the draft Recommendation on media diversity updating Recommendations No. R (94) 13 and No. R (99) 1. In particular, it made the following changes to the text: in the chapter on measures promoting structural pluralism of the media, a paragraph on Other media contributing to pluralism and diversity was added; in the part relating to measures promoting content diversity, the paragraphs concerning Support measures and Responsibility of the media were amended; lastly, the part dealing with media transparency was improved.

16. The text to be transmitted to the Bureau of the CDMC for its next meeting is set out in document MC-S-MD(2006)010rev2.

Item 7 on the agenda: Possible setting-up of a network of experts on media diversity: examination of a proposal to be submitted to the CDMC

17. The Chair of the MC-S-MD summed up the presentation, which she had made to the members of the Bureau and the CDMC at their last meetings, of the plan to set up a network of experts on media diversity. She stressed that the CDMC expected the Group to produce very specific proposals.

18. The Secretariat pointed out that the implementation of such a scheme would require financial resources which at the present stage had not been made available to the MC-S-MD. So that the actions proposed by the Group might be carried out (for example, holding a conference), an account had been opened to allow member states to make voluntary contributions whose early receipt would be a strong signal of member states’ interest in this project.

19. A discussion took place on possible improvements to the proposal to set up the network: an expert stressed the need for greater clarity as to the objectives of creating the network and the results expected of it; another expert thought that reference to the Kyiv Conference should be made in the objectives; regarding the choices of the correspondents in the network, an expert argued that once the criteria for becoming a correspondent is defined, the choice of correspondents should rest with the member states; another took the view that a call for candidatures allowed better judgment of candidates’ motivation, and suggested creating a database bringing together the details of the researchers working on media diversity.

20. In conclusion, some experts indicated that they would send the Secretariat their contributions before the Bureau’s meeting with a view to revising the document.

Item 8 on the agenda: Examination of the replies to the questionnaire on the implementation by member states of Recommendation (2003) 9 of the Committee of Ministers on measures to promote the democratic and social contribution of digital broadcasting, and state of progress of the Compendium of good practices

21. The Secretariat succinctly presented document MC-S-MD(2006)005rev containing all the replies which it had received to the questionnaire on the implementation by member states of Recommendation (2003) 9 of the Committee of Ministers on measures to promote the democratic and social contribution of digital broadcasting; the replies from the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Ukraine, which had reached the Secretariat after the last meeting and which therefore did not appear in document MC-S-MD(2006)005, had been added to the revised document.

22. The Secretariat recalled that the Group had kept the idea of drawing up a kind of compendium of existing good practices in member states regarding two particular subjects addressed in the recommendation (“preparation of the public for the new digital environment” and “adaptation of the public service remit to the digital environment”), and explained that this proposal had been presented to the CDMC Bureau at its meeting on 12 and 13 April 2006, following which a request for further information had been sent to certain member states which had replied to the questionnaire (Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey).

23. The Secretariat had received some replies (from Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and Turkey). It hoped to receive further replies and to prepare a draft compendium of good practices in the near future.

Item 9 on the agenda: Work of the Group relating to the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions

24. The MC-S-MD noted that neither the Secretariat nor the select working group made up of the experts from Romania, France, Belgium and the European Union observer expert had been able to work meaningfully on the role of independent production in promoting diversity, particularly the diversity of cultural expressions.

The Group reasserted its interest in this subject and decided to include it in its draft terms of reference for the next two years (cf. agenda item 4). It proposed to carry out a study on the importance of independent productions for media pluralism and for social cohesion, and on the identification of support measures suited to independent producers.

Item 10 on the agenda: Other business

25. The members of the MC-S-MD were informed that, in order to reduce overheads, in particular printing and postal costs, documents made available in electronic form (e.g. by e-mail or on the restricted website) in advance of the meeting would no longer be circulated in paper form in the meeting room.

This measure would take effect as from the next meeting of the MC-S-MD. Experts were therefore requested to bring all relevant working papers with them to meetings.

Item 11 on the agenda: Date of the next meeting

26. The Group noted that the dates of the meetings in 2007 had not yet been decided and would therefore be communicated later.

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Appendix I

List of participants

I. MEMBER STATES/ETATS MEMBRES

Belgium/Belgique

Mme Muriel COLOT, Attachée, Service général de l’audiovisuel et des multimédias, Communauté française

Bulgaria/Bulgarie

Mme Nina VENOVA, Bulgarian News Agency

M. Svetlozar Kirilov IVANOV, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication,
Sofia University

Croatia/Croatie

Ms Zrinjka PERUŠKO, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, Faculty of Political Science

France

M. Frédéric DEROIN, Adjoint au Chef du bureau des affaires européennes et internationales, Service du Premier Ministre

Greece/Grèce

Mme Maria GIANNAKAKI, Attachée de Presse, Représentation Permanente de la Grèce auprès du Conseil de l'Europe

Latvia/Lettonie

Mr Ilmārs ŠLĀPINS, Advisor on Culture and Humanities to the President of Ministers, State Chancellery

Lithuania/Lituanie

Ms Audrone NUGARAITE, Director, Institute of Journalism

Norway/Norvège

Mr Lars BRUSTAD, Assistant Director General, Department of Media and Copyright, Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs

Poland/Pologne

Mr Pawel STEPKA, Senior Inspector, National Broadcasting Council

Portugal

M. Agostinho PISSARREIRA, Département des Relations Internationales

M. Rui Assis FERREIRA, Membre du Conseil régulateur

Romania/Roumanie

Ms Elly-Ana TARNACOP-MOGA, Conseillère pour les affaires européennes

Russian Federation/Fédération de Russie
<Apologised/Excusée>
Mrs Elena VARTANOVA, Deputy Dean For Research, Professor, Faculty Of Journalism, Moscow State University

Spain/Espagne

Mr Francisco Javier BARTOLOME ZOFIO, Head of Sector, Secretary of State for Telelor and the Information Society, Ministry of Industry

Switzerland/Suisse

M. Jacques FAVRE, Chargé de cours à l’Université de Fribourg

“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”/ « L’ex-Répulique yougoslave de Macédoine »

Mr Janko NIKOLOVSKI, President of the Commission, National Commission

Turkey/Turquie
<Apologised/Excusée>
Ms Zeynep Arzu DEMIREL, Expert, International Relations Department, Radio and Television Supreme Council

United Kingdom/Royaume-Uni
<Apologised/Excusé>
Mr Mark FERRERO, Department of Culture, Media and Sport

OTHER PARTICIPANTS/AUTRES PARTICIPANTS

Parliamentay Assembly of the Council of Europe/Assemblée Parlementaire du Conseil de l’Europe

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe/Congrès des Pouvoirs Locaux et Régionaux du Conseil de l’Europe
<Apologised/Excusé>

European Audiovisual Observatory/Observatoire européen de l’Audiovisuel

European Commission/Commission européenne

Mr Adam WATSON BROWN, Principal Administrator, Unit A1: Audiovisual & Media Policies; Digital Rights, Task Force for Co-ordination of Media Affairs, DG Information Society Media, European Commission, BRUSSELS

II. OSERVERS WITH THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE/OBSERVATEURS AUPRES DU CONSEIL DE L’EUROPE

Canada
<Apologised/Excusée>
Mme Andrée N. LACASSE, Conseillère en politiques, Relation internationale & rayonnement, Patrimoine canadien

<Apologised/Excusé>
M. Jean RIOPEL, Canadian Embassy, Brussels

Holy See/Saint-Siège

M. Louis Ter STEEG

III. OSERVERS WITH THE MC-S-MD/OBSERVATEURS AU SEIN DU MC-S-MD

UNESCO
[Apologised/excusé(e)]

European Broadcasting Union/Union Européenne de Radio-Télévision

Mme Nathalie PIASKOWSKI, Conseillère juridique, Union Européenne de Radio-Television (UER),

Mr Jacques BRIQUEMONT, Union Européenne de Radio-Télévision

Association of Commercial Television in Europe/Association des Télévisions commerciales européennes

Ms Monika MAGYAR, Legal Advisor, Association of Commercial Television in Europe

European Federation of Journalists/Fédération européenne des Journalistes

M. Philippe LERUTH, Vice-président FEJ

European Newspaper Publishers’ Association/Association européenne des Editeurs de Journaux

Ms Hannah McCAUSLAND, European Affairs Advisor, European Newspaper Publishers’ Association,

European Internet Service Providers’ Association/Association européenne des Fournisseurs de Services Internet

European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA)

<Apologised/excuse>
M. Richard NASH, Secretary General, EuroISPA

IV. SECRETARIAT

Mr Jan KLEIJSSEN, Director, Directorate 2, Directorate General of Human Rights/Directeur, Direction 2, Direction Générale des Droits de l’Homme

Mr Jan MALINOWSKI, Head of the Media Division, Directorate General of Human Rights - DG II/ Chef de la Division Media, Direction Générale des Droits de l’Homme - DG II

Ms Charlotte de BROUTELLES, Secretary to the MM-S-MD, Administrative Officer, Media Division, Directorate General of Human Rights - DG II/ Secrétaire du MM-S-MD, Administratrice, Division Media, Direction Générale des Droits de l’Homme - DG II

V. INTERPRETERS/INTERPRETES

Mr Olivier OBRECHT
Mme Christine TRAPP

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Appendix II

Agenda

1. Opening of the meeting

2. Adoption of the agenda

3. Information on the decisions taken by the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC) of interest to the MC-S-MD

4. Revision of the Group terms of reference for the next two years (2007-2008)

5. Examination of a draft Declaration regarding media ownership concentration and democracy

6. Examination of a draft Recommendation updating Recommendations No. R (94) 13 on measures to promote media transparency and No. R (99) 1 on measures to promote media pluralism

7. Possible setting-up of a network of experts on media diversity: examination of a proposal to be submitted to the CDMC

8. Examination of the replies to the questionnaire on the implementation by member states of Recommendation (2003) 9 of the Committee of Ministers on measures to promote the democratic and social contribution of digital broadcasting and state of progress of the Compendium of good practices

9. Work of the Group relating to the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions

10. Other business

11. Date of next meeting

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Appendix III

Group of specialists on media diversity

Revision of the Group terms of reference for the next two years

Specific terms of reference

1. Name of Committee: Group of Specialists on media diversity (MC-S-MD)

2. Type of Committee: Group of Specialists

3. Source of terms of reference: Steering Committee on the Media and New

          Communication Services (CDMC)

4. Terms of reference:

Under the authority of the CDMC and following the Political Declaration and the Resolution on cultural diversity and media pluralism in times of globalisation adopted at the 7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy (Kiev, March 2005), the MC-S-MD will:

· Monitor, in cooperation with the network of experts, the relationship between media concentration on the one side, and pluralism and diversity of contents on the other side.

· Examine the role of the media in promoting social cohesion

    - It will analyse the role of ‘diversity/community/social’ media in light of promotion of social cohesion
    - It will identify and compile examples of good (and bad) practices in which media support social cohesion processes,
    - It will bring together existing networks of projects, experts and organizations in roundtables and or seminars to review and comment on their findings.

· Examine initiatives to promote intercultural and inter-religious dialogue

    - It will review the initiatives taken by media organisations, journalistic associations, religious organisations and NGO’s to promote intercultural and inter-religious dialogue
    - It will analyse good practices and case studies.
    - It will bring together existing networks of projects and NGO’s, religious organisations, experts and researchers in roundtables and or seminars to review and comment on their findings.
    - It will take part in preparation of the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue

· Media awareness and public participation.

    - It will formulate recommendations on how to involve a diverse public in advisory programme structures and on how to set up effective and transparent complaint and support structures for the public.