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Ongoing and planned cooperation projects in the field of media and freedom of expression

30 September 2012


In the field of media and freedom of expression, five cooperation projects with external funding are underway. Two of them are joint projects with the EU: one in Ukraine (2008-2012, cost 2 488 000) and one in the South Caucasus and Moldova (2011-2012, cost 1 200 000). Two projects - Promoting professionalism and tolerance in the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Supporting the development of journalism teaching in Azerbaijan, Phase II - are funded by voluntary contributions from Ireland and Norway. A fifth one – a conference on tackling online hate speech – is funded by the EEA and Norway Grants and the Council of Europe. It is a part of a bigger project in which the Council of Europe Youth Department participates.

Within the limits of its very modest ordinary budget provision, the media cooperation section provided expert assistance to Hungary to align its media laws with Council of Europe standards and to “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” to draft a civil defamation law.

The results of this extensive work (approximately 100 activities throughout the year) are significant. For example in Ukraine, we contributed to the adoption and implementation of access to information and personal data protection laws and to the ratification of a relevant Council of Europe convention.

We constantly look for links and synergies between our various projects. The best practices and the results achieved in one place are shared with others through bilateral and regional networking. Such exchanges have taken place, for example, regarding the reform of university journalism education and making broadcast regulatory bodies independent, effective and transparent. The Council of Europe also helped create a regional network of journalistic self-regulatory bodies. Currently, the network includes press councils from the South Caucasus, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

On-going projects

1. Promoting freedom, professionalism and pluralism of the media in the South Caucasus and Moldova 2011/DGHL/JP/2601


Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova


European Union – Council of Europe


Council of Europe


24 months (January 2011 – December 2012)


The overall objective of the project is to support the development of legal and institutional guarantees for freedom of expression, higher quality journalism and a pluralistic media landscape in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova, in line with Council of Europe standards and as regards both traditional and new media.

Target groups

Public officials, media professionals, journalism educators, civil society

Final beneficiaries

Media professionals, society at large

Expected results

· The regulatory framework for freedom of expression and for media is brought closer in line with European standards;
· The implementation of the media-related regulatory framework and self-regulation is improved in line with Council of Europe standards;
· The broadcasting regulatory bodies are better equipped to function in an independent and effective manner; decision-making is more transparent;
· The public service broadcasters gain in professionalism and are better trusted by the political leaders, the civil society, media professionals and the public at large;
· Journalists better understand their rights, respect ethical rules and are trained to exercise their work professionally;
· The quality of journalism education is improved.

Main activities

Conferences, seminars, workshops, training, expert advice, study tours, publications

2. Promotion of European Standards in the Ukrainian Media Environment 2008/DGHL/JP/2113




European Union – Council of Europe


Council of Europe


52 months (September 2008 – December 2012)


The overall objective of the project is to raise standards of journalism with a view to ensuring that the Ukrainian public is better informed about political and social processes in Ukraine. In order to achieve this, the project provides continuing support for enhancing the legislative framework for media and for raising the ethical standards in the journalism profession. It also provides assistance for enhancing the legal framework on protection of personal data. Finally, the project supports an ongoing dialogue between the media, civil society and the state administration at the regional level, aiming ultimately to generate recommendations for enhanced co-operation at the central level.

Components of the project

· Assistance for improving the effectiveness, independence and transparency of the media regulator and for the establishment of a genuine public-service broadcaster
· Assistance for drafting a coordinated plan for the transition to digital broadcasting
· Harmonisation of the media legislation with European standards
· Quick response mechanism – provision of legal and other assistance on short notice in cases unforeseen in the work plan
· Assistance for the effective development of a system for protection of personal data


Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament)

Target groups

National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting, Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information of the Verkhovna Rada, Ministry of Justice, State Service for Protection of Personal Data, editors, journalists, officials of regional and local administrations, civil society representatives

Final beneficiaries

Media professionals, Ukrainian public

Expected results

The media legislation is developed in line with European norms and standards
The legal framework and institutional capacity of a public service broadcaster is developed
A draft Digital Broadcasting Strategy for Ukraine is prepared
The regulatory practices for the protection of personal data are aligned with the European standards
Potential collisions between the access to information law and data protection law are mapped out
A Code of Conduct for the media as regards the implementation of the law on protection of personal data is developed
Journalists and editorial staff develop professional working methods on the basis of best practices in Europe
Enhanced understanding of ethics among media professionals; information is available about corruption in the sector
Progress is made towards the establishment of a media self-regulatory mechanism (Press Council/Press Complaints Commission)
Improved mechanisms for co-operation and dialogue between journalists, civil society representatives and state officials

Main activities

Seminars, workshops, training, study tours, monitoring, development of case studies, conferences, publications, TV debates

3. Promoting professionalism and tolerance in the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina” 2012/DGHL/VC/2690


Voluntary contributions, Ireland and Norway


Council of Europe


18 months (January 2012 – June 2013)

Intervention Logic

Performance Indicators

Sources of Verification


Project Objective
Promote professional and responsible journalism in line with CoE standards

Media increasingly refrain from hate speech, respect the rights of others and respect their voluntary ethics rules, while striving for a more balanced and objective journalism 

The quality of content of mass media as evaluated by local and international watchdogs; reports of the regulatory body and of the Press Council; reports and surveys by various relevant institutions; CoE monitoring reports; experts' reports 

Political will to promote freedom of expression and to ensure the regulator's independence; all relevant actors understand and accept the importance of free speech and journalistic responsibilities and agree to cooperate in order to guarantee these

Expected Result 1
The members and staff of the Communications Regulatory Agency are better equipped to enforce regulations on protecting human rights, human dignity and minors; their competence for delegated regulation and for implementing it is increased

Monitoring of broadcasters and enforcement of the law as well as the delegated regulation and its implementation comply with CoE standards; increased number of cases of violations effectively and fairly handled by the regulatory body; number of training and consulting sessions held with the Agency 

External experts' assessment of the compliance of delegated regulation and its implementation with CoE standards; reports on the functioning of the regulatory body; CoE monitoring reports; training evaluations 

Political will to guarantee the regulator's independence; willingness of the regulatory body (members and staff) to cooperate with the implementing organisation 

Expected Result 2
The Press Council (self-regulatory body) is better equipped to effectively monitor and enforce ethics rules, voluntarily adopted by the media; enjoys more respect from the media and from the public

More media outlets join the self-regulatory mechanism; number of complaints submitted to the Press Council; number of cases solved effectively and to the satisfaction of both parties; number of training and consulting sessions held with the Press Council 

Reports of the Press Council; feedback from journalists, the public and media watchdog organisations; CoE monitoring reports; training evaluations 

Media professionals understand and accept the important role of professionalism, including ethics; the self-regulatory mechanism is supported by the media 

Expected Result 3
Cooperation between relevant actors, such as media, judiciary, government agencies, Communications Regulatory Agency, Press Council and civil society is enhanced, with a view to promoting free and professional journalism

Number of meetings between the various actors, including training, and consequent outcomes - improved relations and understanding of the work of ''the other'', specific agreements, formal and informal consultative mechanisms in place 

Feedback from the relevant actors; reports by relevant institutions and civil society actors; CoE monitoring reports; experts' reports 

Political will to guarantee the right to freedom of expression and information; all relevant actors agree to cooperate in the name of this right 

4. Supporting the development of journalism teaching in Azerbaijan, phase II 2011/DGHL/VC/2692

The project is funded by a voluntary contribution from Norway. Phase I, also funded by Norway, was completed on 15 February 2011.

Duration: 18 months

1 Nov 2012 – 30 Apr 2014

Operational partners: Baku Slavic University and Baku State University

Total project cost: € 600 000


Project objective

Improve the standards of education for journalism students in Azerbaijan, thereby contributing to the development of a robust media sector capable of meeting key democratic challenges

Specific objectives

Evaluation criteria

Embed the new journalism teaching curriculum at the Baku Slavic University

Disseminate new skills, content and learning amongst other universities in Azerbaijan

· 24 new modules for 6 specialist subjects are developed;
· Teaching materials for 29 modules are developed;
· Textbooks on seven subjects are developed and printed;
· A modern journalism school with a press club, a website and an intranet system is established.

· Co-operation starts between Baku Slavic and Baku State universities;
· Skills and teaching materials are exchanged between the lecturers at both universities.

Description & rationale

In its reply to the Recommendation 1789 (2007) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Professional education and training of journalists, the Committee of Ministers underlined that sound education and continuing training of journalists is a major precondition for the existence of professional media and reiterated the crucial role of free and independent media in democratic societies. It considered the contribution of higher education to be essential inasmuch as it transmits democratic values to young journalist trainees and plays a primordial role in updating the skills and knowledge of journalists through lifelong and targeted training.

The Committee of Ministers considered that assistance provided to member states in the area of media legislation and media training, which has contributed to enhancing media independence in certain countries, should continue, notably aiming to raise awareness of the relevant Council of Europe standards among media professionals and to encourage them to apply these standards in practice in their work. It also encouraged higher education institutions to include in their curricula courses dealing with media ethics as well as with human rights for media professionals.

A first phase of this project funded by the Government of Norway finished in February 2011. The current proposal covers a second phase which expands and consolidates the results achieved in the first phase. 

The project as a whole aims to reform the journalism education in Azerbaijan, bringing it in line with European standards. During its first stage, the project worked in one university – Baku Slavic. In the second stage, the work at Baku Slavic University will continue while at the same time being extended to Baku State University – the largest one in Azerbaijan.

Summary of Phase I Implementation at Baku Slavic University, 1 March 2009 – 15 February 2011

The project’s overarching goal is to improve standards of education for journalism students in Azerbaijan, thereby contributing to the development of a robust media sector capable of meeting key democratic challenges. Phase I of the project set out to achieve the following objectives at the Baku Slavic University:

    · Promote practice-based journalism teaching;
    · Improve the pedagogical and journalistic skills of university lecturers;
    · Devise a modular curriculum which responds to the real needs of the media industry.

The project has been outstandingly successful in achieving all of the first phase objectives. The implementation of Phase I culminated in the Baku Slavic University Scientific Council approving the new modular journalism curriculum. The modular curriculum was initially developed for the following five subjects: TV Journalism, Radio Journalism, Journalism Ethics, New Media and a totally new subject for Azerbaijani journalism teaching – Photojournalism. By the end of December 2010, the development of teaching materials for each module was completed.

In addition, another five modules on TV Technology, Radio Technology, Print Technology, Print Journalism and Introduction to Journalism were developed. By the end of the extension period (15 February 2011), the project created two new practical labs – a New Media newsroom and a Photojournalism lab - and had trained a basic core of university lecturers in using them for the benefit of the students.

BBC Media Action (formerly named the BBC World Service Trust) has worked with academics from British, Norwegian, Irish, Turkish and US universities for the successful development and implementation of the modular curriculum. The project has enjoyed a strong sense of ownership by the teaching staff at the Baku Slavic University and excellent support from the Rector and the management of the university. This has also been a significant factor in improving the pedagogical skills of the lecturers. The New Media course started in the new autumn term of 2011 and is expected to be a great motivator towards innovation in both journalism teaching and journalism practice in the country.

The project has created the necessary momentum for changing journalism teaching in Azerbaijan not only at Baku Slavic University but also at other universities who have shown an interest in the programme and attended conferences and seminars, foremost amongst them Baku State University – the original intended beneficiary of the project and the largest university in Azerbaijan. Universities have also expressed an interest in achieving changes in the state standards so that new curricula can be incorporated with greater ease.

There is strong expectation on behalf of the beneficiary, Baku Slavic University, that the project will complete Phase II as originally intended, allowing the time and resources to embed the new methods and curriculum and make the systematic changes truly sustainable. Baku Slavic University has stated its firm belief that if the project should stop at the current stage, the University would not be able to implement fully the new curriculum and will not be able to offer specialist subjects, thus jeopardising its current reputation as being at the forefront of modern journalism education. On the strength of the transition initiated by Phase I, the Rector of Baku Slavic University applied to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Education to allow the creation of a separate Faculty of Journalism. This was granted making Baku Slavic University only the second university in the country (after Baku State University) with its own Journalism Faculty.

The next phase of the project will have the added benefit of using the already developed modular curriculum, as well as planned new specialist subjects, as the basis for creating new journalism curricula at other Azerbaijani universities. Phase II will focus in particular on working with Baku State University Faculty of Journalism to prepare it for the implementation of a new curriculum, with the emphasis of changing the teaching of radio and TV journalism and introducing photojournalism to its curriculum and thus help transform journalism teaching in the country. The project will also help lecturers in both universities create textbooks on Introduction to Journalism, TV journalism, Radio Journalism, Photojournalism and New Media.

If additional funds (Euro 150,000) are made available, Phase II will install a TV studio and train lecturers and students in its use thus allowing them to develop practical skills and make them fit for the media industry.

Phase II of the Project

The overarching goal for Phase II remains the same as for Phase I: to improve the standards of education for journalism students in Azerbaijan, thereby contributing to the development of a robust media sector capable of meeting key democratic challenges.

It is very encouraging that Phase II of the project will work on improving the curriculum of the originally intended beneficiary, Baku State University, which is the largest university in the country. The specific objective for Baku State University will be to bring TV and Radio journalism teaching in line with modern teaching practices and develop a new subject – Photojournalism. The specific objective for Phase II of the project for the existing beneficiary, Baku Slavic University, will be to embed the new journalism teaching curriculum, create specialist journalism subjects and new text books which will benefit other universities in Azerbaijan. Phase II will last 18 months, starting 1 October 2012, and will comprise the following strategies:

Strategies at Baku State University (originally intended beneficiary)

The only other state university in Azerbaijan which offers journalism studies, and the largest one, Baku State University, has also expressed a desire to be included as a partner in the project for the next phase. An extensive Training Needs Analysis (TNA) was completed during Phase I which identified a great deal of interest, both on the part of lecturers at the Journalism Faculty and amongst the students, in BBC Media Action implementing a similar project at the Baku State University. The priority for Baku State University will be the development of new integrated teaching modules for TV and Radio journalism and the introduction of Photojournalism modules. The project will also explore with the Faculty the viability of transferring some of the modules developed for Baku Slavic University to Baku State University.

It is also intended to enhance the co-operation between the two universities so that they can offer their students the chance to specialise at the other university. The project will encourage the transfer of skills and teaching materials between the lecturers at both universities and will seek to forge closer links between the faculties and the industry for the benefit of the students. It is expected that the lecturers in both universities will co-operate in the production of 5 new textbooks. The hope is also that this work at the only two state universities offering journalism studies will allow changes to be made in the state standard and thus ensure the sustainability and replication of new curriculum elements developed in this project.

Output 1. Round-table meetings on curriculum analysis

The project implementation staff and international journalism teaching consultants will review the structure, content and methodology of the existing curriculum with a view to making recommendations for a long-term work plan.

Output 2. Development of 12 new modules for 3 subjects (4 modules per subject)

The Chair of TV and Radio Journalism at Baku State University has requested assistance for developing new integrated teaching modules on TV and Radio journalism in accordance with the Bologna criteria. The project will also develop photojournalism modules. Although photojournalism was taught until the breakup of the Soviet Union, presently the university is not able to develop this subject in a modern way due to lack of resources.

Output 3. Expert assistance in the management of the TV and radio studios at Baku State University and in establishing a photojournalism laboratory

Baku State University has TV and radio studios. Their work, however, does not meet the demands of the media industry. The project will help university staff integrate the development of the new TV and radio modules with the work of the TV and radio studios where the students will find an opportunity to develop the relevant skills.

The project will also help staff at Baku State University develop a photojournalism lab in conjunction with the development of the new photojournalism modules.

Output 4. Study tour for up to 6 lecturers working on the new TV, Radio and Photojournalism modules and creating text-books on these subjects together with Baku Slavic University

The project will enable the Baku State University lecturers who will be responsible for upgrading the TV, Radio and Photojournalism modules to visit EU universities to study their curricula with the help of their colleagues and observe the teaching of these subjects in practice. It is envisaged that the Baku State University lecturers will be accompanied by 2-3 of their colleagues from Baku Slavic University who will be responsible for co-writing the textbooks on Radio journalism, TV Journalism and Photojournalism so that they can research the subjects in more detail. This will enhance the already existing co-operation between some of the lecturers of the two universities.

Strategies at Baku Slavic University

The project will aim to embed the content and skills shared in Phase I, and thus ensuring their sustainability and will set out to achieve the following outputs at the Baku Slavic University:

Output 5. Development of 24 new modules for 6 specialist subjects (4 modules per subject):

This is necessary for the implementation of the new curriculum. According to the new curriculum, the University will offer six options as specialisation in the final year. These are: Political Journalism, Business Journalism, Art Journalism, Social Journalism, Children’s Journalism and Sports Journalism. No similar specialist subjects in these fields have been developed in recent years in the country.

Output 6. Development of teaching materials for 5 new modules developed in Phase I in addition to the main body of modules included in the new curriculum

Teaching materials for five new modules developed during Phase I (TV Technology, Radio Technology, Print Technology, Print Journalism and Introduction to Journalism). (Five other extra modules were developed during this phase but time was insufficient for the completion of the training materials.)

Output 7. Expert Assistance in Creating a Press Club

The Press Club will organize at least four round-table seminars for the dissemination of experience among journalism faculties and departments across Azerbaijan. It will bring lecturers, graduates and students together with representatives of the media industry to promote discussions on the challenges facing the media industry and to promote access to employment.

Output 8. Summer School Study Trip

Up to 10 lecturers from Baku Slavic University will take part in a summer school aimed at reviewing their work on meeting the objectives of the project and creating a plan for finalising its successful implementation.

Output 9. Development and publication of textbooks (cross-cutting, Baku Slavic and Baku State Universities)

The aim is to refurbish Baku Slavic University’s stock of very outdated journalism textbooks and make them available in hard copies and soft copies, the latter downloadable through the university website. This activity will be led by staff at Baku Slavic University with the active participation and co-operation with lecturers from Baku State University. The following essential five textbooks will be developed:

        · Introduction to Journalism
        · Radio Journalism
        · TV Journalism
        · Photojournalism
        · New Media Journalism

Output 10. Baku Slavic University - Expert and technical assistance on establishing and management of the TV studio

This activity is subject to an additional Euro 150,000 being made available to the project in order to purchase and install the necessary equipment and train staff and key groups of students in the use of the new TV studio. Such a studio would be invaluable for the teaching of TV journalism at Baku Slavic University.

5. Conference “Tackling hate speech: Living together online”

27 and 28 November 2012, European Youth Centre, Budapest, Hungary

Funded by the EEA and Norway Grants and the Council of Europe

The conference is organised by the Council of Europe in partnership with the EEA and Norway Grants. It will bring together stakeholders such as government agencies, media, civil society funders, youth and human rights non-governmental organisations to examine the possible ways of tackling hate speech.

The main aim of the conference is to encourage people, in particular youth, to take responsibility for the way they express themselves in the digital era, in accordance with the Council of Europe values and through its various activities and the programmes and projects supported by EEA and Norway Grants. The conference will be preceded by a training session for young bloggers on how to combat online hate speech.

Draft programme

Tuesday 27 November 2012

13.00 Press conference

14:00 Opening of the conference

Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs

Session 1 Reality on the ground - status today

14:30 Presentations from four different viewpoints

    1. Research: The New Face of Digital Populism in Europe

      Speaker: Jamie Bartlett, Head of the Violence and Extremism Programme, Demos, United Kingdom

    2. A hate crime victim and blogger activist against hate speech

      Speaker: Louiza Louhibi, Newspaper columnist, Norwegian Labour Party’s Gender Equality Committee, Norway

    3. A Europe-wide Roma rights advocacy NGO

      Speaker: Dezideriu Gergely, Executive Director, European Roma Rights Centre, Hungary

    4. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reporting on hate crime across Europe

      Speaker: Henri Nickels, Programme Manager -Social Research, Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights


16:00 Coffee break

Session 2 Self-regulatory aspects, moderation approaches and ‘Tech Business’ perspective

16:20 Panel discussion

Moderator Nick Higham, BBC, United Kingdom


    1. Gabriella Cseh, Head of Policy CEE, Facebook

    2. Jacek Żakowski, Journalist, POLITYKA weekly, Poland

    3. Ronald Eissens, Board member, International Network Against Cyber Hate , The Netherlands

    4. Stefan Glaser, Deputy Director, Jugendschutz.Net, Germany

    5. Floriane Hohenberg, Head, Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department, OSCE-ODIHR


18:30 End of first day

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Session 3 Looking ahead- what can be done?

9:30 Possible next steps and recommendations for action


    1. Jenö Kaltenbach, Chair, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, Council of Europe

    2. Benjamin Ward, Deputy Director, Europe and Central Asia Division,Human Rights Watch

    3. Blogger reporting on the conclusions and recommendations of the training session of young bloggers on how to combat hate speech online


11:30 Coffee break

12:00 Closing session

Rapporteur: Robin Wilson, Researcher and policy analyst, United Kingdom

Closing remarks

Christos Giakoumopoulos, Director, Directorate of Human Rights, Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law, Council of Europe

Torgeir Larsen, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway

Project proposals at various stages

6. Promoting freedom of expression and freedom of the media in five countries of South-Eastern Europe
Location(s): Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Montenegro and Serbia
Duration: 24 months, 1 January 2013 - 31 December 2014
Amount applied for: €1.3million
Submitted to SIDA

7. Regional network of media self-regulatory bodies
Location(s): South Caucasus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine
Duration: 36 months; tentative start/end dates: 1 January 2013 – 31 December 2015
Amount applied for: € 900 625
Submitted to SIDA and as a request for voluntary contributions

8. Integration of European standards in the Ukrainian media environment
Location(s): Ukraine
Duration: 5 years, 2013–2016
Implementation status: proposed
Amount applied for: €5 000 000 (CoE/EU Joint Programme)
Under negotiation

9. Regional project on media in the South Caucasus and Moldova
Location(s): South Caucasus, and Moldova
Duration: 2 years, 2013–2014
Implementation status: proposed
Amount applied for: €1 000 000 (CoE/EU Joint Programme)
Submitted to EC/EIDHR

Pending requests for voluntary contributions

10. Freedom of expression and freedom of the media in Turkey, 24 months, € 1 000 000

Expected Results

Performance Indicators

Promote freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media in Turkey in line with Council of Europe standards

The media-related legislation is aligned more closely with CoE standards and implemented accordingly.
The quality of journalism education in one selected university is improved.
Journalists are trained to exercise their work in a professional and responsible manner.

11. Freedom of expression and freedom of the media in Kosovo, 24 months, € 500 000

Expected Results

Performance Indicators

Promote freedom of expression and freedom of the media in Kosovo through strengthening the media-related legal framework established and implemented with the support of the CoE and developing professionalism, responsibility and respect of ethical rules among journalists. Special attention will be paid to public-service broadcasting and to the digital switchover.

The media-related legislation is aligned more closely with CoE standards and implemented accordingly.
The Independent Media Commission is better equipped to function as an independent and effective broadcasting regulatory authority.
Journalists are trained in exercising their profession in an independent and responsible manner.
The access of minorities to the media, notably public-service ones, is improved.