Media - Freedom of expression and information

 Committee of experts on protection of journalism and safety of journalists (MSI-JO)

Activities
STANDARD-SETTING
  Steering Committee (CDMSI)
  Bureau of the Committee (CDMSI-BU)
  Former Steering Committee (CDMC)
  Former Bureau of the Committee (CDMC-BU)
  Committee of Experts on Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists (MSI-JO)
  Committee of Experts on cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom (MSI-INT)  
CONVENTIONS
  Transfrontier Television
  Conditional Access
COOPERATION
  Legal and Human Rights Capacity Building
FORMER GROUPS OF SPECIALISTS
  Rights of Internet Users
  Information Society
  New Media
  Public Service Media Governance
  Cross-border Internet
  Protection Neighbouring Rights of Broadcasting Organisations
  Media Diversity
  Public service Media
 
Events
  Conference Freedom of Expression and Democracy in the Digital Age - Opportunities, Rights, Responsibilities, Belgrade, 7-8/11/2013
  Conference "The Hate factor in political speech - Where do responsibilities lie?", Warsaw18-19 September 2013
  Conference of Ministers, Reykjavik - Iceland, 28-29 May 2009
  European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG)
 
Documentation
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Useful links


Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI)

2nd meeting – 27 November 2012 – 09h30 to 30 November 2012 – 17h00
(Strasbourg, Palais de l’Europe, Room 2)

CDMSI(2012)014

Secretariat document on follow-up to specific instruments on the Internet adopted by the Committee of Ministers

I. BACKGROUND

At its 1st meeting (27 - 30 March 2012) the CDMSI discussed questions related to ensuring multi-stakeholder support for follow-up to three specific instruments on the Internet adopted by the Committee of Ministers:

- Declaration on Internet Governance principles
- Recommendation on the protection and promotion of the universality, integrity and penness of the Internet
- Declaration on network neutrality.

The CDMSI noted that it was not possible to create a subordinate group to pursue follow-up work. While many CDMSI members expressed regret in this respect, it was agreed that an informal working group with CDMSI members be established to discuss concrete issues and follow-up proposals.

At its 1st meeting (29-30 May 2012) the Bureau of the CDMSI asked the Secretariat to remind all CDMSI members to send suggestions for follow-up actions.

In July 2012 it became apparent that it would not be possible to organise a meeting of an Informal Group and that it would be necessary to take advantage of other gatherings or web-based collaboration tools to advance the work.

The secretariat prepared a preliminary report based on suggestions from members which was considered by the Bureau of the CDMSI at its 2nd meeting (10 - 11 October 2012). The Bureau recognised the need for a better understanding of the challenges encountered by competent institutions and stakeholders with regard to the implementation of Council of Europe Internet standards. The Bureau invited the Secretariat to continue to explore the feasibility of setting up data collection activities/arrangements in a Council of Europe context in co-operation – and whenever possible in partnership - with other stakeholders.

The Bureau also supported a proposal to hold a multi-stakeholder conference to explore the feasibility of drafting an instrument encompassing a “framework of understanding and/or commitments”.

The present document has been prepared for consideration by the CDMSI taking into account the discussions and decisions of the Bureau.

II. FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS ENVISAGED

a. Specific actions envisaged with regard to the Declaration on Internet Governance Principles and the Recommendation on the protection and promotion of the universality, integrity and openness of the Internet
It is envisaged that all of the actions undertaken will require multi-stakeholder consultation and this will be achieved through specific events geared toward multi-stakeholder input or validation in meetings and in the preparation of documents.

i. Development of a “framework of understanding and/or commitments”

The Council of Europe Strategy proposes, under Line of action I. Protecting the Internet’s universality, integrity and openness, an action aimed at developing a “framework of understanding and/or commitments”, based on the Council of Europe’s core values and principles on Internet governance to protect the Internet’s universality, integrity and openness as a means of safeguarding freedom of expression regardless of frontiers and Internet freedom. This “framework” would reflect the common goals, concerns and interests of the various stakeholders in relation to the Internet Governance Principles and the Recommendation on the protection and promotion of the universality, integrity and openness of the Internet - commitment to do no harm, due-diligence, information sharing etc. and offer a mechanism for endorsement in particular by the technical and business communities.
As suggested by the Ad hoc Advisory Group on Cross-border Internet a first step towards such a “framework” would be to take stock of implementation through the elaboration of a questionnaire to be prepared by the Secretariat, possibly with the assistance of experts, targeting relevant actors.

The results of the questionnaire and their subsequent analysis, if possible with the help of a network of Internet Governance Institutes, would provide a better understanding of the performance of different stakeholders in relation to Council of Europe texts and of the challenges with regard to their implementation. The results would also hopefully point at innovative ways of fostering respect for these principles and would form the basis for discussions in a multi-stakeholder conference.

ii. Setting up an observatory or clearing house

In its final report the Advisory Group on Cross-border Internet (MC-S-CI) envisaged a collaborative mechanism, for example an observatory, an index or a clearinghouse of best practices relating to Internet governance principles which could further implementation by both governmental and non-governmental actors. The Council of Europe’s Internet Strategy proposes an action under Line of action V. Maximising the Internet’s potential to promote democracy and cultural diversity - collecting and sharing data and examples of good practice on (…) laws, regulations and trends related to Internet governance that could possibly be entrusted to the European Audiovisual Observatory.

The secretariat is exploring with the Executive Director of the European Audiovisual Observatory the feasibility of expanding its role to include Internet governance.

b. Specific actions envisaged with regard to the Declaration on network neutrality

As foreseen in the Declaration on network neutrality, exceptions to the principle of net neutrality should comply with the requirements set out in the Declaration. A Council of Europe framework with a view to providing guidance to member states and/or to facilitating the elaboration of guidelines with and for private sector actors in order to define more precisely acceptable management measures and minimum quality-of-service requirements should be explored.

It is proposed that the secretariat prepare a draft document on possible content of net neutrality guidelines for member states, bearing in mind the findings of the BEREC report, the recent ETNO proposals as well as national initiatives (e.g. UK ISPs code of conduct). Based on this the secretariat would prepare a document for consideration at a forthcoming meeting of the CDMSI and thereafter a document would be made available to stakeholders.
The CDMSI could hold a multi-stakeholder consultation on net neutrality with the aim of reviewing adoption of the guidelines by member states, emerging problems, as well as market and technology changes that impact on the currency of the Declaration and the guidelines in light of these changes.

c. Awareness raising and outreach

The Internet Governance Unit is acutely aware of shortcomings with regard to awareness raising and outreach which are essentially due to the lack of resources (human, technical and budgetary). Areas for improvement include: Cooperation activities, awareness raising materials (including website) and participation at conferences and events related to Internet governance. While efforts will be made to improve awareness raising and outreach it must be stressed that it is not possible to tackle all areas with current resources.

III. PROPOSED FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS AGREED BY THE CDMSI BUREAU

a. Data Collection

The secretariat will continue to explore the feasibility of setting up data collection activities/arrangements (including a questionnaire to relevant stake-holders) in a Council of Europe context in co-operation – and whenever possible in partnership - with other stakeholders.

b. Multi-stakeholder Conference

A multi-stakeholder conference would be convened (if possible in spring 2013) to discuss the feasibility of drafting an instrument encompassing a “framework of understanding and/or commitments” which would identify common goals as well as issues and concerns taking into account the viewpoints of the various stakeholders in relation to the Internet Governance Principles and other Council of Europe standards. The meeting would also identify and hopefully validate methods of endorsement by the different stakeholders.