Information Society and Action against Crime Directorate

Information society

Freedom of expression and media
There is no true democracy without freedom of expression and without free and pluralist media. The right to freedom of expression also applies to new forms of mass communication. The Council of Europe keeps freedom of expression and media standards under constant review; it provides assistance to ensure their respect, in line with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe – the only binding international instrument in the field – provides guidelines for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime and as a framework for international co-operation between States Parties to this treaty.

Data protection
The Convention, opened for signature on 28 January 1981, was the first legally binding international instrument in the data protection field. Parties to the convention are required to take the necessary steps in their domestic legislation to apply the principles it lays down in order to ensure respect in their territory for the fundamental human rights of all individuals with regard to processing of personal data.

Internet governance
Promoting Internet governance built on the basis of human rights, the public service value of the Internet and multi-stakeholder dialogue.



European Audiovisual Observatory

ObservatoryThe Observatory was created in 1992 in order to collect and distribute information about the audiovisual industries in Europe. By making this information available, the Observatory aims at promoting greater transparency and a clearer understanding of the ways in which the audiovisual industries in Europe function, both from an economic and legal point of view.


Action against crime

European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC)
The CDPC identifies priorities for intergovernmental legal co-operation, makes proposals to the Committee of Ministers on activities in the fields of criminal law and procedure, criminology and penology, and implements these activities.

Transnational criminal justice
Treaties have been negotiated within the Council of Europe establishing a common basis for co-operation in criminal matters across Europe and sometimes beyond. They cover co-operation mechanisms such as extradition, mutual legal assistance and the transfer of persons serving prison sentences.

The Council of Europe Convention on the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes involving threats to public health (CETS No. 211) was opened for signature on 28 October 2011. The “Medicrime convention”, as it is known, constitutes the first binding international legal instrument criminalising offences committed in the medical field.

Prisons and community sanctions and measures
The Council of Europe’s expertise in promoting more humane and socially effective prisons is unique. It has adopted a number of legal instruments, including the European Prison Rules and recommendations on education in prison, prison staff, healthcare in prison and prison overcrowding.

Criminal law cooperationCriminal law cooperation
Through bilateral co-operation activities and projects, the Criminal Law Co-operation Unit plays a major role in assisting the beneficiary countries to integrate the Council of Europe standards in their penitentiary, probation and law enforcement institutions.

Money laundering and financing of terrorism

The Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) evaluates compliance with relevant international and European standards to counter these crimes in 28 Council of Europe member states, Israel and the Holy See (including the Vatican City State).

- COP198
The Conference of the Parties set up under the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism (CETS No. 198) monitors the proper implementation of the Convention by the Parties and, at the request of a Party, expresses an opinion on any question concerning the interpretation and application of the Convention.

Action against terrorism
The Council of Europe is dedicated to upholding human rights, the rule of law and pluralist democracy, and is determined to combat terrorism, which rejects these three fundamental values. Its work in this field begain in the 1970s, but efforts have been stepped up since 2001, following the unprecedented terrorist attacks in the United States.

Co-operation programmes against economic crime and corruption
The Council of Europe's approach consists of three interrelated elements: supporting the implementation of the relevant standards (treaty law and soft law), assisting and facilitating the implementation of recommendations from monitoring mechanisms (GRECO and MONEYVAL) and providing capacity-building based on country-specific needs and assessments.


Fight against corruption

Drug abuse and illicit trafficking

Group of States against
corruption (GRECO)
GRECO is the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body; its 49 members comprise 48 European States and the United States of America. Its objective is to improve member States’ capacity to fight corruption by assessing their compliance with Council of Europe anti-corruption standards through a process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure. It helps to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption legislation and policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms.

Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs (Pompidou Group)
The Pompidou Group’s core mission is to contribute to the development of multidisciplinary, innovative, effective and evidence-based drug policies in its member states. It seeks to link Policy, Practice and Science and focuses especially on the realities of local implementation of drug programmes.