Under the supervision of the CDMSI, drawing upon the existing Council of Europe standards and the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, the MSI-REF will prepare a standard-setting proposal on election communication and media coverage of electoral campaigns.

The MSI-REF committee will also work on guiding principles for media and communication governance in order to address the shift from established channels to social networks and of related risks (manipulation of public opinion, lack of public trust, information disorder).

meetings meetings

  The public consultation on the draft text of the Committee of Ministers recommendation on principles for media and communication governance is open from 8 July to 10 August 2021.

The draft text was prepared by one of the CDMSI’s subordinate bodies - the Committee of Experts on Media Environment and Reform (MSI-REF). The experts will review all comments received and finalise the draft, ahead of its review by the CDMSI and submission to the Committee of Ministers for eventual adoption.

Draft recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States on principles for media and communication governance.

 Contributions to the consultation process can be sent here until 10 August 2021.

  The public consultation on the draft text of the Committee of Ministers recommendation on electoral communication and media coverage of election campaigns is open from 19 July to 23 August 2021.

The draft text was prepared by one of the CDMSI’s subordinate bodies - the Committee of Experts on Media Environment and Reform (MSI-REF). The experts will review all comments received and finalise the draft, ahead of its review by the CDMSI and submission to the Committee of Ministers for eventual adoption.

Draft recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States on electoral communication and media coverage of election campaigns.

 Contributions to the consultation process can be sent here until 23 August 2021.

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Freedom of expression and information in times of crisis

Strasbourg 21 March 2020
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Freedom of expression and information in times of crisis

Statement by the Council of Europe’s Committee of experts on media environment and reform (MSI-REF)

The evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing a public health emergency. In this time of great public concern, it is of particular importance for member states to recognise the crucial role of independent media.

Now, more than ever, we need reliable journalism, resting on the standards of professional ethics, to keep the public informed and to scrutinise the measures taken in response to the global health threat. We need accurate information, including in-depth research by science journalists, to counter rumours and disinformation that could lead to panic. This can be facilitated by creating forums for dialogue among governments and media stakeholders.

In line with the Council of Europe Guidelines on protecting freedom of expression and information in times of crisis, the crisis situation should not be used as a pretext for restricting the public's access to information. Neither should states introduce any restrictions on media freedom beyond the limitations allowed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Member states, together with all media stakeholders, should strive to ensure a favourable environment for quality journalism, in line with the standards set out by the upcoming Council of Europe Recommendation. In these circumstances, special attention should be given to ensuring appropriate working conditions for journalists, including medical protection for any work-related coronavirus risks.

Freedom of expression, media independence and open deliberation, rather than information control, are the core principles underlying European democracy which will allow us to surmount the great challenges facing our countries.