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1131st meeting – 18 January 2012

Item 1.7

Thematic debate: “Media freedom”
(SG/Inf(2011)27)

Decisions

The Deputies

1. noted that a number of issues were raised during the discussion, such as the protection of journalists and their information sources, the challenges of new media, freedom of communication and the protection of human rights on the Internet, media independence and pluralism, access to information, the role of public service media and balanced coverage of issues of public interest, hate speech, media responsibilities, professionalism and ethics;

2. agreed to devote one of their thematic debates annually to a relevant aspect of media freedom in Europe on the basis of a discussion paper to be prepared by the Secretary General;

3. building on their Declaration on Measures to Promote the Respect of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, agreed that the Council of Europe should strengthen the impact and visibility of its activities in the field of media freedom through a wider co-ordination among the various competent structures and mechanisms, as well as through reinforcing co-operation with other international bodies active in this area, in particular the European Union, the OSCE and the UN;

4. encouraged the Secretary General to develop a toolkit of assistance measures in the field of media freedom which could be made available upon request to member States and neighbouring countries and to keep them informed;

5. bearing in mind the terms of reference given to the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) for the biennium 2012-2013, invited the CDMSI to prepare a compendium of relevant Council of Europe standards in the field of media freedom, including with regard to hate speech, and examine ways of promoting knowledge and effective implementation of these standards in member States, including among and with the media;

6. in order to guarantee freedom of expression and information, called on member States to take all appropriate steps to ensure the protection of journalists, other media professionals and bloggers, both as regards preventive measures and effective investigation;

7. tasked the CDMSI to examine possible initiatives to be taken within the framework of the Council of Europe to strengthen this protection, taking into account the work conducted by other international organisations, as well as to foster ethical journalism, and to report back in due course.