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Seminar on “Freedom of Expression standards and professional media regulation: Council of Europe and EU practices”

14-15 July 2022
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Seminar on “Freedom of Expression standards and professional media regulation: Council of Europe and EU practices”

A seminar on “Freedom of Expression standards and professional media regulation: Council of Europe and EU practices” was organised by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee of the Parliament of Georgia.

The 2-day hybrid-format event brought together members of the Parliament of Georgia, as well as of the Committee representatives. The seminar focused on two aspects: freedom of expression from the perspective of the European Convention on Human Rights and professional media regulation. Discussions on both topics were facilitated by the Council of Europe experts.

In the context of freedom of expression, the discussion concerned freedom of media and respective standards of the European Court of Human Rights. Difference between hate speech and obscenity; defamation; balance between freedom of expression and other fundamental rights were discussed based on the case-law of the European Court.

In the context of professional media regulation, statutory regulation, co-regulation and self-regulation systems were analysed based on the examples of several European countries. Also, the EU Directive on Audio-visual Media Services (EU AVMSD) was elaborated in the view of requirements towards professional media and media content. At last, the Council of Europe experts reviewed compliance of Georgia’s current professional media regulation system with EU AVMSD. Discussion also touched upon draft amendments to the Law on Broadcasting (initiated several years ago) and enabled exchange of views to what extent it satisfies the EU AVMSD requirements.

The broader context of the activity is the obligation of Georgia to harmonise its media legislation with EU AVMSD as required by EU-Georgia Association Agreement. The Council of Europe plans to facilitate the process of legislative changes through provision of expertise and information concerning good practice of professional media regulation (statutory regulation/co-regulation/self-regulation) across Europe. The Council of Europe will also enable discussion and dialogue among all interested stakeholders in order to ensure inclusive decision-making process.

The activity took place in the framework of the Project “Strengthening Media Freedom, Internet Governance and Personal Data Protection in Georgia”, which is funded by the Council of Europe 2020-2023 Action Plan for Georgia.