Ministers’ Deputies
CM Documents

CM(2008)10 16 January 20081
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1018 Meeting, 20 February 2008
5 Media


5.1 Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC)

a. Abridged report of the 6th meeting (Strasbourg, 27-30 November 2007)
b. Draft declaration of the Committee of Ministers on protecting the dignity, security and privacy of children on the Internet
c. Draft declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the allocation and management of the digital dividend and the public interest

Item to be prepared by the GR-H on 29 January 2008

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1. The Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC) held its 6th meeting from 27 to 30 November in Strasbourg. The meeting was chaired by Mr Matthias TRAIMER (Austria). The agenda of the meeting, as adopted, appears in Appendix I.

Items requiring a decision by the Committee of Ministers

2. Protection of children from harm in the context of use of the Internet: in the Action Plan adopted at the 7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy (Kyiv, March 2005) (cf. items 17, 19 and 23 of the Action Plan), the CDMC decided inter alia to “prepare a standard-setting instrument which promotes a coherent pan-European level of protection for children from harmful content when using new communication technologies and services and the Internet, while ensuring freedom of expression and the free flow of information”. In this connection, the CDMC welcomed the invitation by Mrs Maud de Boer Buquicchio, Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General, to examine how children can best be protected from the damage that can result when they themselves place content on the internet.

In response, the CDMC prepared a draft declaration on the protection of children from harm in the context of use of the Internet. It finalised the draft by e-mail consultation shortly after its 6th meeting.2 The Committee of Ministers is invited to examine the draft Declaration on protecting the dignity, security and privacy of children on the Internet with a view to its adoption (cf. Appendix II).

3. Management of the digital dividend: Following the Bureau’s proposal, the CDMC decided to prepare a document on the use or management of the so-called digital dividend (spectrum capacity freed due to digital broadcasting following switchover from the more spectrum-thirsty analogue transmission), highlighting the nature of the digital dividend as a public domain resource and that decisions as to its use should take due account of present and foreseeable public interest. It finalised the draft by e-mail consultation shortly after its 6th meeting.

The Committee of Ministers is invited to examine the draft Declaration on the allocation and management of the digital dividend and the public interest with a view to its adoption (cf. Appendix III).

4. Protection of the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations: The CDMC noted that work within the framework of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on an international treaty on this subject has come to a deadlock, but that there is consensus among European states of the need to elaborate such an instrument. With the exception of a few delegations, the CDMC expressed the view that, in the circumstances, it is desirable to resume work discontinued in the late 1990s and to elaborate a Council of Europe Convention on the protection of the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations. Several delegations (Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, the United Kingdom) were willing to contribute actively to this objective by making available copyright experts. The European Commission expressed an interest to be associated.3

The Committee of Ministers is invited to give ad hoc terms of reference to the CDMC to resume examination of the matter by, in the first place, taking stock of the situation and, if justified, elaborating a draft Council of Europe binding instrument designed to reinforce the protection of the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations.

Items submitted to the Committee of Ministers for information

5. Filtering measures on the Internet and freedom of expression: Having regard to items 19 and 23 of the Action Plan adopted at the 7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy (Kyiv, March 2005), the CDMC prepared a report on the use and impact of technical filtering measures for various types of content in the online environment, with particular regard to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It also prepared a draft recommendation on the subject.

The Committee of Ministers is invited to examine the draft Recommendation on measures to promote the respect for freedom of expression and information with regards to Internet filters with a view to its adoption4, and to take note of the related report.

6. Independence and functions of regulatory authorities of the broadcasting sector: In the context of examining the implementation of Council of Europe standards on freedom of expression and freedom of the media, the CDMC prepared an overview of the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2000)23 of the Committee of Ministers on the independence and functioning of regulatory authorities in the broadcasting field. In light of the results, it also prepared a draft declaration on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities for the broadcasting sector, with the overview appended thereto.

The Committee of Ministers is invited to examine the draft declaration on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities for the broadcasting sector with a view to its adoption.5

7. Comments on Recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE): The CDMC examined draft comments on PACE Recommendation 1799 (2007) on the image of women in advertising; on PACE Recommendation 1805 (2007) on blasphemy, religious insults and hate speech against persons on the ground of their religion; and on PACE Recommendation 1814 (2007) towards decriminalisation of defamation. It decided to finalise them by e-mail consultation (delegations’ remarks being due by 10 December 2007) with a view to their transmission to the Committee of Ministers by 15 December 2007 as requested.

8. Possible future mechanism for promoting respect of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights: The CDMC pursued consideration of this matter. In this context, it took note of the oral report by the informal working group it had asked to consider the questions raised by delegations at its previous meeting. It also took note of the views of a representative of PACE, the OSCE (represented at the meeting by the Director of the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media) and observers to the CDMC.

Discussions suggested an emerging agreement as to the desirability of a specialised mechanism designed to promote the implementation of Council of Europe freedom of expression and media related standards in practice, having regard to the specificities of each member state. The work of existing bodies that record cases of alleged violations of those freedoms should not be duplicated, and a Council of Europe mechanism should develop synergies with relevant existing bodies. Moreover, the objective of such a mechanism should be to work together with relevant member states in a spirit of cooperation and ongoing dialogue, based on professionalism, independence, impartiality and expertise. Moreover, there appeared to be agreement as to the desirability for a “light weight” mechanism that does not require the formal creation of a new body or institution and that can easily be discontinued if it does not prove its efficacy and paying due attention to its financial implications. Some delegations suggested that this mechanism could be associated to the institution of the Commissioner for Human Rights.

The CDMC asked the Bureau to prepare a more detailed paper setting out the current state of CDMC discussion on the subject.

9. Media complaints bodies: The CDMC started consideration of a draft text on this subject, with a view to fulfilling the ad hoc terms of reference it received from the Committee of Ministers on 13 June 2007 to examine and make recommendations on the operation and functioning of media complaints procedures and media complaints bodies established in member states, taking into account any difficulties faced by individuals and groups affected by statements in the media to obtain redress through these mechanisms. Delegations will provide comments on this draft by 29 February 2008 with a view to its finalisation at the next CDMC meeting.

10. Work of the CDMC’s subordinate bodies: The CDMC took note of the ongoing work of its groups of specialists. It commended in particular the considerable output of the Group of Specialists on Human Rights in the Information Society (MC-S-IS) and the achievements of the Group of Specialists on freedom of expression and information in times of crisis (MC-S-IC).

The CDMC decided not to request that the Committee of Ministers extend the terms of reference of the MC-S-IC (which, as matters stand, come to an end on 31 December 2007). The issue of freedom of expression and information in times of crisis will remain on the CDMC agenda without recourse to a formal group of specialists; Ms Bissera Zankova (Bulgaria) was asked to coordinate such work in consultation with the Bureau, calling upon CDMC delegations with particular interest on the subject. Ms Zankova was also asked to coordinate work on intercultural dialogue, in particular, resources permitting, on the preparation of a publication on the media’s contribution to “living together”.

The CDMC also asked the Secretariat to arrange for a thematic study examining developments in national legislations since 2001 concerning the fight against terrorism which have a bearing on freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media; the CDMC will decide if further action is required on this subject once the legal analysis is available.

As regards certain proposals made by the MC-S-IC (on training of media professionals on safety issues and on media coverage of crisis situations, and on a forum on the rights and responsibilities of media and the working conditions of journalists in times of crisis and information network on the media’s contribution to intercultural and inter-religious dialogue), delegations will provide comments by 29 February 2008 and, if appropriate, will make proposals for further action. Concerning proposals on streamlined monitoring of the implementation of Council of Europe standards on freedom of expression and information in times of crisis, the CDMC reiterated that this is covered by its own work on a possible future mechanism for promoting respect of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (cf. paragraph 8 above).

As for the proposal for an award for media which have made an outstanding contribution to conflict prevention or resolution, understanding and dialogue, the CDMC asked the Secretariat to pursue contacts with various prize-giving organisations (e.g. Prix Europa) and to take due account of action foreseen in the Council of Europe Whitepaper on Intercultural Dialogue once it has been adopted.

11. First European Ministerial Conference on the Media and New Communication Services (Reykjavik, foreseen on 28 and 29 May 2009): The CDMC discussed a draft outline programme and themes under the possible overarching title “Trust in Today’s and Future Media” for the Conference prepared by the Bureau. CDMC members were invited to contribute by end of February with reflection papers on the themes and sub-themes and on topics for roundtables. Delegations were also invited to start considering whether they would like to make substantive written submissions for the Ministerial Conference.

12. Request for observer status: The CDMC examined the request by the non-governmental organisation Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) to be given observer status with the CDMC and two if its subordinate bodies, namely the Group of Specialists on media diversity (MC-S-MD) and the Group of Specialists on public service media in the Information Society (MC-S-PSM). The CDMC decided that, at this stage, it is appropriate to give observer status to CMFE in respect of the MC-S-MD.

13. Work of other Council of Europe bodies: The CDMC took note, in particular, of developments in respect of a binding instrument on access to official documents. Concern was expressed at the rather low common standards foreseen in the text and the CDMC recalled that access to information is essential in ensuring accountability in a democratic society and to allow media to fulfil its watchdog function. The CDMC decided to bring its views to the attention of the Steering Committee for Human Rights.

14. Elections: The CDMC re-elected Mr Matthias Traimer (Austria) as Chairperson and Ms Delia Mucica (Romania) as Vice-Chairperson. It also re-elected Mr Frédéric Riehl (Switzerland) as Bureau member and elected Messrs Garegin Chugaszyan (Armenia) and Luis Santos Ferro (Portugal) as Bureau members. The remaining two members of the Bureau are Ms Elfa Yr Gylfadottir (Iceland) and Mr Andris Mellakauls (Latvia). It warmly thanked the two outgoing members, Ms Bissera Zankova (Bulgaria) and Ms Vesna Poposka (“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”) for the valuable contribution to the CDMC’s work.

15. Other issues: The CDMC took note of information on and welcomed the significant Council of Europe contribution to the Internet Governance Forum and in respect of implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society action lines regarding the media (C9) and the ethical dimensions of the Information Society (C10). It also took note of the progress on the revision of the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (CETS No.132). It was also informed of the co-operation and exchanges with other countries and organisations as well as of the work of the current presidency of the European Union related to the media and the new communication services.

Appendix I

Agenda

1. Opening of the meeting

2. Adoption of the agenda

3. Decisions of the Committee of Ministers of interest to the work of the CDMC

4. Request for observer status by the non governmental organisation Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) with the CDMC and expert groups (MC-S-MD and MC-S-PSM)

5. Work programme for the CDMC in 2008

6. Promoting visibility of the work of the CDMC

7. Draft instruments or texts submitted by the Group of Specialists for consideration by the CDMC

    a) Draft recommendation on media complaints bodies, their operation and procedures
    b) Draft recommendation and report on measures to promote respect for freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters

8. Implementation of non-binding instruments on media and freedom of expression prepared under the authority of the CDMC

    a) Implementation of the Recommendation(2000)23 of the Committee of Ministers on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities of the broadcasting sector
    b) Developments in member states with reference to standards concerning freedom of expression and information in the context of the fight against terrorism

9. Discussion on a possible future mechanism in respect of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights

10. Discussion on a possible Council of Europe convention on the protection of the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations

11. Committee of Ministers declaration on the management of the digital dividend

12. Work of the CDMC’s subordinate bodies

13. Internet governance and implementation of WSIS action lines

    a) Contribution of the Council of Europe to the Internet Governance Forum (Rio de Janeiro, 12 to 15 November 2007)
    b) Implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society action lines regarding the media (C9) and the ethical dimensions of the Information Society (C10)

14. First European Ministerial Conference on the Media and New Communication Services (Reykjavik 2009)

15. Standing Committee on Tran frontier Television (T-TT)

16. Information on the work of, and co-operation with, other Council of Europe bodies, of interest to the CDMC

17. Targeted assistance and technical co-operation programmes being implemented by the Media and Information Society Division

18 Co-operation and exchanges with other countries and organisations, in particular neighbouring regions of Europe

19. Other information of interest to the work of the CDMC

20. Administrative and budgetary matters

21. Elections

22. Dates of the next meeting

23. Items to be included on the agenda of the 7th meeting of the CDMC

24. Other business

25. Abridged report

Appendix II

Draft declaration of the Committee of Ministers
on protecting the dignity, security and privacy of children on the Internet

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on …
at the … meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe,

Recalling the fundamental right to freedom of expression and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authorities and regardless of frontiers, as guaranteed by Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights – ETS No. 5);

Recalling the 1989 United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, in particular the inherent right for children to dignity, to special protection and care as is necessary for their well-being, to protection against all forms of discrimination or arbitrary or unlawful interference with their privacy and to unlawful attacks on their honour and reputation;

Convinced that the well-being and best interests of children are fundamental values shared by all member states, which must be promoted without any discrimination;

Convinced that the Internet is an important tool for children’s everyday activities, such as communication, information, knowledge, education and entertainment;

Concerned however by the enduring presence of content created by children which can be damaging to their dignity, security, privacy and honour both now and in the future as adults;

Recalling the Committee of Ministers Declaration on freedom of communication on the Internet, adopted on 28 May 2003, which stresses that the exercise of such freedom should not prejudice the dignity or fundamental rights and freedoms of others, especially children;

Conscious that the traceability of children’s activities via the Internet may expose them to criminal activities, such as the solicitation of children for sexual purposes, or otherwise illegal or harmful activities, such as discrimination, bullying, stalking and other forms of harassment, by others;

Recalling the measures to protect children referred to in the 2001 Convention on Cybercrime (ETS No. 185), in particular concerning child pornography, and the 2007 Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (CETS No. 201), in particular concerning the solicitation of children for sexual purposes;

Convinced of the need to inform children about the enduring presence and risks of the content they create on the Internet and, in this connection, of the need to develop and promote their information literacy, defined as the competent use of tools providing access to information, the development of critical analysis of content and the appropriation of communication skills to foster citizenship and creativity, as referred to in Recommendation Rec(2006)12 of the Committee of Ministers on empowering children in the new information and communications environment;

Aware that communication using new technologies and new information and communication services must respect the right to privacy and to secrecy of correspondence, as guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and as elaborated by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108);

Concerned by the profiling of information and the retention of personal data regarding children’s activities for commercial purposes;

Noting the outcome documents of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva, 2003-Tunis, 2005), in particular the 2005 Tunis Agenda for the Information Society which reaffirmed the commitment to effective policies and frameworks to protect children and young people from abuse and exploitation through information and communication technologies;

Noting also the mandate of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, in particular to identify emerging issues regarding the development and security of the Internet and to help find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of concern to everyday users;

Aware of the emerging tendency for certain types of institutions, such as educational establishments, and prospective employers to seek information about children and young people when deciding on important issues concerning their lives,

Declares that, other than in the context of law enforcement, there should be no lasting or permanently accessible record of the content created by children on the Internet which challenges their dignity, security and privacy or otherwise renders them vulnerable now or at a later stage in their lives;

Invites member states together, where appropriate, with other relevant stakeholders, to explore the feasibility of removing or deleting such content, including its traces (logs, records and processing), within a reasonably short period of time.

Appendix III

Draft declaration of the Committee of Ministers
on the allocation and management of the digital dividend and the public interest

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on …
at the … meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe,

Recalling the commitment of member states to the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, as guaranteed by Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights – ETS No. 5);

Stressing the importance for democratic societies of the existence of a wide variety of independent and autonomous media, permitting the reflection of diversity of ideas and opinions, as stated in the Committee of Ministers’ Declaration on the freedom of expression and information (29 April 1982);

Conscious of the advantages and opportunities but also the challenges for free and pluralist communication offered by digital technology, and of the need to safeguard essential public interest objectives in the digital environment, including freedom of expression and access to information, media pluralism and cultural diversity, social cohesion, democratic participation, consumer protection and privacy;

Aware of the fact that technical and legislative choices involved in the switchover to the digital environment should not be determined by economic factors alone but ought also to take account of social, cultural and political factors, and agreeing that a balance must be struck between economic interests and objectives of common interest;

Conscious that a balance might need to be struck between the development of a purely market-based approach to spectrum allocation and management, on the one hand, and the promotion of pluralism, cultural and linguistic diversity and access of the public to audiovisual services in Europe, in particular free-to-air broadcasting, on the other hand;

Aware, in particular, that radio spectrum will be freed as a result of the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting and conscious of the need for states to take decisions in respect of the allocation and management of this scarce public resource in the common interest;

Stressing that the digital dividend6 is an excellent opportunity to meet the rapidly growing demand for new services and that it can open up spectrum for broadcasters to significantly develop and expand their services while, at the same time, ensuring that other important social and economic uses, such as broadband applications or mobile multimedia capable of contributing to overcome the digital divide, are taken into account when allocating and managing this valuable resource;

Mindful of the importance of stepping up efforts to ensure effective and equitable access for all persons to the new communication services, education and knowledge, especially with a view to preventing digital exclusion and to narrowing or, ideally, bridging the digital divide;

Recalling Recommendation Rec(2003)9 on measures to promote the democratic and social contribution of digital broadcasting, and in particular its citizen-oriented approach and stipulations regarding the transition to digital broadcasting;

Recalling also Recommendation Rec(2007)3 on the remit of public service media in the information society, underlining the fundamental role of public service media in the new digital environment, which is to promote the values of democratic societies, in particular respect for human rights, cultures and political pluralism, offering a wide choice of programmes and services to all sectors of the public and promoting social cohesion, cultural diversity and pluralist communication accessible to everyone;

Recognising, without prejudice to ongoing efforts within other international fora to find a harmonised approach, the right of member states to define their own policies regarding the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, and the use of the digital dividend, understood as radio spectrum capacity freed as a result of the switchover to the digital environment;

Aware of the different situations in which various member states find themselves with regard to the digital dividend for geographical, historical, political, cultural, linguistic or other reasons, which may be accommodated through international co-ordination and planning, but make rigid harmonisation difficult;

Stressing the need to guarantee to users stable reception of digital terrestrial broadcasting services and to resolve interference problems before a decision, if any, is taken to put broadcasting services and mobile telephone services in the same or adjacent bands,

Declares that member states:

i. should acknowledge the public nature of the digital dividend resulting from the switchover and the need to manage such a public resource efficiently in the public interest, taking account of present and foreseeable future needs for radio spectrum;

ii. should pay special attention to the promotion of innovation, pluralism, cultural and linguistic diversity, and access of the public to audiovisual services in the allocation and management of the digital dividend and, for this purpose, take in due account the needs of broadcasters and of the media at large, both public service and commercial media, as well as those of other existing or incoming spectrum users;

iii. should also consider the benefit that the allocation and management of the digital dividend may bring to society in terms of an increased number of diversified audiovisual services, including mobile services, with potentially improved geographical coverage and interactive capability, as well as services offering high definition technology, mobile reception, or easier and more affordable access.

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted until examination by the Committee of Ministers.
Note 2 Denmark and Sweden reserved their position in respect of this text.
Note 3 France reserved its position in respect of this proposal.
Note 4 This text is currently being finalised and will be on the Committee of Ministers’ agenda shortly.
Note 5 Spain reserved its position in respect of this text. This text is currently being finalised and will be on the Committee of Ministers’ agenda shortly.
Note 6 The radio spectrum freed as a result of the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting


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