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"Public Service Media and Democracy" conference in Prague 10-11 November 2016

Prague 8 November 2016
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The EBU, the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), the Czech Parliament and Czech TV are organizing an international conference on Public Service Media (PSM) and Democracy in Prague on 10th & 11th November. Hosted by the Czech Parliament, the event brings together parliamentarians from Central and Eastern Europe, regulators and PSM managers from across the region. The European Parliament, OSCE and the European Federation of Journalists are also supporting the event.

The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland have opened the conference which features a range of expert speakers from partner organisations, regulatory authorities and broadcasters.

The conference will discuss the role of parliaments in protecting the media; the impact of PSM on society; governance; how broadcasters deal with hate speech and the long term independence and sustainability of PSM in the region.

Photo © Ricardo Gutiérrez

Video message from the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland opening the conference:


What we do What we do

The right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media as protected by Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights are pillars of democratic security in Europe. The Council of Europe promotes an enabling environment for freedom of expression, underpinned by legal guarantees for independence and diversity of media and safety of journalists and other media actors.

The Media and Internet division of the Council of Europe is a reference point within the broad area of the work accomplished by different Council of Europe bodies on freedom of expression and media. The division also ensures the work of the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI).

The Media and Internet division issues publications on relevant topics and organises activities, such as conferences, seminars and other events to foster discussions on how to best preserve freedom of expression and information in Europe. It also ensures co-operation activities by offering expertise and assistance on Council of Europe standards to media and new-media actors, as well as guidance to governments and regulatory authorities in target countries. The aim is to foster an enabling environment for freedom of expression by taking into account the challenges of a changing media landscape.

The division works with various subjects under freedom of expression, such as protection of journalism and safety of journalists, decriminalisation of defamation, gender equality in the media, countering hate speech.

Image © Shutterstock

Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”) is at the core of the Council of Europe’s system for the protection of the right to freedom of expression. Principles regarding freedom of expression are further established by the European Court of Human Rights’ case law, which is steadily growing.

Freedom of Expression, the Media and Journalists: Case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (updated July 2015) contains summaries of over 240 judgments or decisions by the Court and provides hyperlinks to the full text of each of the summarised judgments or decisions (via HUDOC, the Court’s online case-law database.)

Other relevant work of the Council of Europe Other relevant work of the Council of Europe
Publications Publications

A number of studies and reports have been commissioned by the Council of Europe on particular aspects related to media freedom. 

Liability and jurisdictional issues in online defamation cases - Study on forms of liability and jurisdictional issues in the application of civil and administrative defamation laws in Council of Europe member states

Prepared by the Expert Committee on human rights dimensions of automated data processing and different forms of artificial intelligence (MSI-AUT)

Enhancing Standards Enhancing Standards

The Council of Europe has developed a consistent body of standards supporting media freedom, including topics such as hate speech, culture of tolerance, gender equality, public service media governance, safety of journalists etc. 

Areas of action Areas of action
Building capacities in member states Building capacities in member states

During this decade, the Council of Europe Information Society Programme has implemented over 20 projects in member states and partner countries promoting media freedom.

Fostering Partnerships Fostering Partnerships

 The conference "Public Service Media and Democracy" (2016) in Prague, co-organised with the European Broadcasting Association and the Czech Parliament, discussed the role of parliaments in protecting the media, as well as the present and future of the public-service media in the region.

 A conference focussed on “Promoting dialogue between the ECtHR and the media freedom community” (2017) was organised in Strasbourg in partnership with the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom.

Developing new policies Developing new policies

Further policy reflections are geared towards promoting the essential role of quality journalism for providing timely, accurate and relevant information, as well as solutions for its sustainability.

Furthermore, media coverage of elections has an important impact on the public’s understanding of electoral stakes and influences the result of electoral competitions. However, as an important part of political campaigning is moving online, electoral spending and questionable advertising techniques based on micro-targeting of voters cause a number of concerns for the fairness and legitimacy of elections. Likewise, unbalanced and unfair media coverage of gender during elections requires a detailed analysis and policy solutions.