Conference Conclusions

9 September 2016

The implementation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on Internet freedom is a shared objective and commitment of all stakeholders, including governments, civil society and the private sector.

States are encouraged to strengthen their commitment, in particular by:

  • setting  roadmaps leading to evaluations of and reports on Internet freedom, while taking the necessary steps to consult with civil society organisations, national institutions responsible for the protection of human rights, such as ombudspersons, the technical community, academia and the private sector;
  • making Internet freedom reports available to the public in particular, sharing them with the Council of Europe as envisaged in Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)5. This will contribute to strengthening the Secretary General`s dialogue with member States in preparation of his annual report the State of Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law;
  • sharing with each other their experiences and best practices that emerge in the context of their evaluations of Internet freedom, in particular by means of capacity building programmes for different stakeholders including legal professionals.

The Council of Europe has a key role to play in promoting Internet freedom in the European continent, in particular by:

  • ensuring follow-up to the Secretary General’s initiative on a Comparative Study on Blocking, Filtering and Removal of Internet content in the 47 Council of Europe member States, by means of observing Internet-related developments in member States and keeping up-to-date the information about national legal frameworks contained in the country reports of the Comparative Study;
  • continuing the dialogue with Internet companies as envisaged in the Council of Europe’s Internet Governance Strategy 2016-2019;
  • offering technical assistance to member States in the context of co-operation activities in relation to their Internet-related policies and regulations.

International co-operation between the Council of Europe and the other international organisations, notably the OSCE, UNESCO and the European Union should be reinforced in order to better coordinate efforts of the international community to effectively protect and promote human rights in the Internet environment.

Business stakeholders are encouraged to make the protection of human rights online an integral part of their business practices and to continue making information about human rights protection online publicly available in their Internet transparency reports. They are also encouraged to participate in member States reviews and evaluations of Internet freedom.

Non-governmental organisations which produce media freedom or Internet freedom reports are encouraged to take into account the Internet freedom indicators contained in Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)5. They are also encouraged to actively engage in and contribute to member States reviews and evaluations of Internet freedom.


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