Steering Committee on

Media and Information Society


Comments by the Steering Committee on the Media and Information Society (CDMSI) on Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1996 (2012)

    on “Equality between women and men: a condition for the success of the Arab Spring”

1. The CDMSI examined with interest Recommendation 1996 (2012) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on “Equality between women and men: a condition for the success of the Arab Spring”. A country cannot be called truly democratic if it does not offer equal opportunities for women and men to participate in public life. De facto equal opportunities should lead to balanced participation, which is a declared Council of Europe objective. Because of our societies’ gender inequality legacy, this objective will be hard to reach without proactive measures.

2. The CDMSI agrees with the Assembly that the Council of Europe has both an interest and the instruments to contribute to democratic stability beyond Europe. It welcomes the recent initiatives of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to establish a closer dialogue with neighbouring countries. Cooperation with neighbouring regions is also in the CDMSI’s own terms of reference.1

3. Gender should be a high priority for Council of Europe activities in the southern Mediterranean region. The Recommendation makes pertinent suggestions, including about legal reforms.

4. Within its particular field of competence, the CDMSI welcomes that the important role of the media in promoting gender equality is recognised. This could involve sharing of good practice on how to avoid gender stereotyping. Training and awareness raising, as recommended by the Parliamentary Assembly, are also important tools. The CDMSI can only encourage the Council of Europe to provide assistance in such activities, and stands ready to contribute to the extent possible.

5. The CDMSI wishes to add that the development of Information and Communication Technologies and, in particular, the Internet have broadened the media landscape. This is highlighted in Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)7 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on a new notion of media, which also includes some guidance to policy makers on gender equality issues. According to its terms of reference, the CDMSI will work on a recommendation on gender equality and media, and will explore the gender dimension of media coverage of election campaigns.

1 E.g. the Permanent Conference of the Mediterranean Audiovisual Operators (COPEAM), members in the Southern Mediterranean region, has been an interlocutor for the Council of Europe and participates in CDMSI work.