Having clarified the reasons for initiating a public debate In this document and in Article 28 of the Oviedo Convention the overarching concept of ‘public debate’ is used to describe discursive interactions in the public sphere (that is, not in a professional context) through which individuals and groups may identify, explore and resolve their different interests in matters that affect (or potentially affect) them all., a second set of questions concerns the specific objectives of the public debate activity An organised activity, delimited in scope, intended to stimulate and to attend to public debate on a specific theme in the expectation that it will inform or influence policy development or governance.: what are the anticipated outcomes and what benefits are they expected to deliver, and to whom? Again, there may be more than one objective and different benefits may flow to different parties involved in the activity.

Examples Examples

Belarus - The rights and responsibilities of doctors and patients in modern healthcare systems (legal and ethical issues) (2018)

In the public debate on “The rights and responsibilities of doctors and patients in modern healthcare systems (legal and ethics issues 2018-2019)”, the main purpose was to inform patients about their rights and to remind doctors about their responsibilities, including knowledge about new legislation and ethical practices.

France - Public debate on the law on bioethics (2018)

In the French “États Generaux” project, the media was recognised as a key actor and training for media professionals was organised ahead of public debate activities to promote balanced reporting on the selected topics and their ethical implications.

The French National Consultation (“États Généraux”) aimed to involve as large a public as possible in participating in public debate on bioethical themes feeding into the legislative process. Broad coverage in media, a website where the public could participate and the use of regional fora for public debate activities created good opportunities for participation and helped to build capacity for further debate.

Cyprus - Awareness week (2018)

During the Cypriot Awareness Week on nursing homes for the elderly, a Code of Conduct for Journalists and the Mass Media was prepared as a result of the public debates held in order to provide guidance for journalists when reporting on aspects regarding the care of elderly people.

Germany - Public discourse on genome editing (2019)

In the debate on Genomchirurgie im gesellschaftlichen Diskurs in 2019, two training seminars were organised where journalists and editors convened with scientists from the fields of biology, medicine, ethics and the law to understand genome editing from multiple perspectives. The goal was to foster qualified media coverage on the topic.

Finland - Citizen's initiative to the Parliament (2012)

An official website was introduced in 2012 where the public may raise issues of concern, bring them to the attention of legislators and automatically have them debated by parliament if more than 50,000 citizens sign an online petition.


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