On 10 and 11 June 2021, Ministers responsible for Media and Information Society issues will meet to agree on action required to address the radical changes in the media and information environment brought on by massive digitalisation, with dramatic effects for the exercise of freedom of expression and substantial impact on other human rights and freedoms.

Ministers will turn their attention to the dangerous backsliding in the area of safety of journalists and will also discuss ways to reinforce the resilience of human rights protection frameworks for due respect of the cornerstone role of freedom of expression in democratic societies and for full engagement of its potential in times of crisis.

The Ministerial Conference will lead to the adoption of a final declaration and four resolutions addressing these important issues. These instruments will secure the political engagement of the Council of Europe and its member States for a number of priority actions and will contribute to the agenda of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Media and Information Society’s (CDMSI), for the years to come.

In addition, in a “world-café” format, Ministers will have an opportunity to receive a first-hand account from local and community media representatives on their media literacy related work and other projects that have contributed to enhancing access and the participation of marginalised communities in media and in public debate, as well as to be informed of good practice examples in protecting journalists' safety.

Time to act

The use of Artificial Intelligence has a growing impact on our everyday lives. From machine-written news based on algorithms to automatic moderation of content, never before has AI been so present without us even realising it. Never before could we access so many sources of information so quickly, without being certain which ones are authentic. And never before did we face situations in which the quality of information can save lives during a global pandemic, while disinformation can lead to serious harm.
Citizens therefore need to be fully aware of the implications of AI, including regarding freedom of expression and privacy. Journalists need be able to work freely in adequate conditions, enabling them to exercise their role as essential public “watchdogs” in our democracies.

Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Marija Pejčinović Burić

Interview with Nikos Nouris, Minister of the Interior, Republic of Cyprus

Interview with Kyriacos Kokkinos, Deputy Minister to the President for Research Innovation and Digital Policy, Cyprus

Robert Spano, President of the European Court of Human Rights