CM(2012)163 13 December 20121
1160 Meeting, 30 January 2013
5.1 Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI)
a. Abridged report of the 2nd meeting (Strasbourg, 27-30 November 2012)
For consideration by the GR-H at its meeting of 15 January 2013
The Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) held its 2nd meeting in Strasbourg from 27 to 30 November 2012. The meeting was chaired by Andris Mellakauls (Latvia). The agenda is contained in appendix 1. During the meeting, the CDMSI:
For the Committee of Ministers’ decision
1st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and Information Society (Serbia, 2013)
- agreed on the following main theme of the Conference: “Freedom of expression and democracy in the digital age – opportunities, rights and responsibilities”,
- agreed on the dates of 17 and 18 October 2013 for the Conference as approved by Serbia.
For information of the Committee of Ministers
- wishes to bring to the attention of the Committee of Ministers that due to the lack of adequate sub-structures and resources the CDMSI finds itself severely constrained in the fulfilment of its standard-setting work and is unable to fully realise its potential in that regard;
- exchanged views with Mr Jan Kleijssen, Director of Information Society and Action against Crime, on issues related to the work programme of the CDMSI;
Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1981 (2011) “Violent and extreme pornography”
- following the Committee of Ministers’ reply to the Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation (CM/AS(2012)Rec1981 final), discussed the feasibility of a comparative analysis of the laws and regulations applying to forms of violent and extreme pornography in member States. The CDMSI recognised that the topic is very important within the Council of Europe context. Having said that, it took the view that such a comparative analysis would require a strong multidisciplinary approach, involving not only the CDMSI but also other pertinent committees and expertise of the Council of Europe; furthermore, given the current work programme of the CDMSI and limited resources available, it would not be feasible for the CDMSI to carry out such a task without additional resources;
Initiatives to strengthen the protection of journalists, other media professionals and bloggers, both as regards preventive measures and effective investigation, taking into account the work conducted by other international organisations, and to foster ethical journalism
- given the urgency of the issue, agreed, in accordance with Article 14b of the appendix I to the Resolution CM/Res(2011)24, to entrust a limited number of committee members to conduct, in close co-operation with the Bureau and in consultation with observers, preparatory work to be presented at the next meeting, having regard to the Bureau’s proposals (appendix 2). The Committee strongly urged that this important work be entrusted to a distinct subordinate body to the CDMSI;
- discussed a draft Secretariat report on defamation and agreed that it should be published on-line for best dissemination and be updated whenever necessary;
Draft Convention on broadcasters’ neighbouring rights
- took note of the information provided by the Secretariat and agreed that the conditions set out in its terms of reference for carrying out this activity were not met;
Draft recommendation on gender equality and media
- noted that a draft recommendation should be ready for discussion at the next meeting of its Bureau (March 2013);
Co-operation and outreach (capacity building, best practice in the field)
On-going and future activities
- took note of the information provided by the Secretariat and discussed future priority projects;
- followed the opening of the Council of Europe Conference “Tackling Hate Speech” (Budapest, 27-28 November 2012) on web cast and took note of the information on its content provided by the Secretariat;
Implementation of the Committee of Ministers’ Declaration of 13 January 2010
- welcomed the setting-up of the Task Force on freedom of expression and media as coordinated structure of the Council of Europe Secretariat and took note of the work undertaken;
Draft declaration on risks to fundamental rights stemming from digital tracking and other surveillance technologies
- noted that the draft Declaration had been submitted to the Committee of Ministers for adoption;
Compilation of existing rights of Internet users (MSI-DUI)
- took note of the report on the 1st meeting of the MSI-DUI (13-14/09/2012) and welcomed the state of progress in its work;
Follow-up to specific instruments on the Internet adopted by the Committee of Ministers
Preliminary report on scenarios of interference with Internet traffic which may have an impact on access to information across borders
- held an expert hearing and exchange of views with Mr Bertrand de la Chapelle, Director of the Internet and Jurisdiction Project at the International Diplomatic Academy in Paris, Mr Patrik Fältström, Head of Research and Development, Netnod, Ms Joanna Kulesza, Assistant professor, Department of International Law and International Relations, University of Lødz, Mr Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor for Internet Policy and Regulation, University of Aarhus and Mr Bram Tullemans, Programme Manager Broadband Technology and Online Services, EBU, on the relevance of a possible wide reaching instrument on freedom of internet traffic;
- agreed to explore the possibility of establishing a data collection and to organise a multi-stakeholder conference on the feasibility of drafting a “framework of understanding/commitments” on Internet Governance Principles and Council of Europe standards;
- agreed to explore the possibility of preparing an expert report which analyses legal, policy and technical issues of cross-border flow of Internet traffic and examines policy options to be pursued;
Co’operation and outreach (capacity building, best practice in the field)
European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG 2012 and 2013)
- took note of the information provided by the Secretariat;
Internet Governance Forum (IGF, Baku, 6-9 November 2012)
- took note of the information provided by the Secretariat (appendix 3);
Internet Governance – Council of Europe Strategy 2012-2015
- considered information provided by the Secretariat, including the need to assess risks of non-implementation of action lines and to identify necessary synergies and partnerships with other bodies and networks both within the Council of Europe and beyond;
Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) / Internet Corporation for Assigning Names and Numbers (ICANN)
- took note of the information by the Secretariat and welcomed the submission of its paper on freedom of expression and freedom of association relating to new generic top level domains;
Data protection - Instruments currently under review by the T-PD: Convention No. 108
- held an exchange of views with Mr Jean-Philippe Walter, Chairperson of the T-PD on the work of the T-PD and with Mr Bertil Cottier, expert on co-operation activities relating to press freedom and data protection in the Ukraine;
CDMSI relations with other Council of Europe bodies
- held an exchange of views with Ms Regina Jensdottir, Head of the Children’s Rights Division, on the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2012-2015);
CDMSI exchanges of views with other organisations
- held an exchange of views with Professor Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Chairperson of the EC High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism concerning the work of the High Level group and its implications for possible synergies between the EU and the Council of Europe. The EC High Level Group is to publish a report towards the end of 2012;
- held an exchange of views with Ms Nieves Fernandez del Cotero Secades, from the European External Action Service, on EU’s progress with its Internet Freedom Strategy and other related matters. The CDMSI welcomed the EEAS’s intention to draw on the instruments adopted by the Committee of Ministers and underlined the need to enhance co-operation with EU institutions and avoid duplication;
- re-elected Mr Andris Mellakauls (Latvia) as its Chairperson and Ms Maja Rakovic (Serbia) as its Vice-Chairperson, both for a second year term (1 January to 31 December 2013);
- agreed on dates for its plenary meetings in 2013 as follows: 3rd meeting from 23 to 26 April and 4th meeting from 3 to 6 December 2013. It also agreed to hold an extra plenary meeting on the eve of the first day of the Ministerial Conference, i.e. 16 October 2013.
1. Opening of the meeting
2. Adoption of the agenda
3. Information by the Chair and the Secretariat
4. Decisions of the Committee of Ministers
4.1 Adopted standard setting instruments
- Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the desirability of international standards dealing with forum shopping in respect of defamation or (“libel tourism”)
4.2 Texts of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
- “Violent and extreme pornography” –Recommendation 1981 (2011)
- CDMSI comments on Recommendation 1996 (2012) on “Equality between women and men: a condition for the success of the Arab spring”
- CDMSI comments on Recommendation 1998 (2012) on “Protection of freedom of expression and information on the internet and online media”
- CDMSI comments on Recommendation 2001 (2012) on “Protection of and access to the audiovisual cultural heritage”
Standard setting activities
5.1 Initiatives to strengthen the protection of journalists, other media professionals and bloggers, both as regards preventive measures and effective investigation, taking into account the work conducted by other international organisations, and to foster ethical journalism
5.2 Draft convention on broadcasters’ neighbouring rights
5.3 Draft recommendation on gender equality and media
Co-operation and outreach (capacity building, best practice in the field)
5.4 On-going and future activities
5.5 Hate speech
5.6 Implementation of Committee of Ministers Declaration of 13 January 2010
6. Information Society and Internet Governance
Standard setting activities
6.1 Draft declaration of the Committee of Ministers on risks to fundamental rights stemming from digital tracking and other surveillance technologies
6.2 Compilation of existing rights of Internet users (MSI-DUI)
6.3 Follow-up to specific instruments on the Internet adopted by the Committee of Ministers
6.4 Drafting of an instrument on cross-border flow of Internet traffic
Co-operation and outreach (capacity building, best practice in the field)
6.5 European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG 2012 and 2013)
6.6 Internet Governance Forum (IGF, Baku, 6-9 November 2012)
6.7 Council of Europe Internet Governance Strategy 2012-2015
6.8 Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) / Internet Corporation for Assigning Names and Numbers (ICANN)
7. Data protection
Standard setting activities
7.1 Information concerning the instruments currently under review by the T-PD: Convention No. 108
8. Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and Information Society (Serbia, 2013)
9. CDMSI relation with other Council of Europe bodies
10. CDMSI exchanges of views with other organisations etc.
10a Exchange with the European Union
Ms Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Chairperson of the EC High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism
10b European External Action Service on the EU Internet Freedom Strategy
12. Dates for future meetings
13. Budget and administrative issues
14. Other questions
15. Adoption of the abridged report
Protection of journalists/journalism
Paper agreed by the Bureau of the CDMSI
Following its thematic debate on Media Freedom on 18 January 2012, the CM called on member states “to take all appropriate steps to ensure the protection of journalists, other media professionals and bloggers, both as regards preventive measures and effective investigation” and “tasked the CDMSI to examine possible initiatives [by] the Council of Europe to strengthen this protection.”
In June 2012, the freedom of expression rapporteurs of the UN, the OSCE, the OAS and the African Union together with Article 19 and the Centre for Law and Democracy identified the need to adopt a joint declaration on crimes against journalists. A resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet, particularly freedom of expression, has been adopted by consensus at the Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Moreover, the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity has been endorsed by the UN Chief Executives Board, the highest level coordination mechanism of the UN system.
On 27 September 2012, the Resolution on the Safety of Journalists was adopted at the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council.
As mentioned in the thematic debate discussion paper on the “safety of journalists”, presented by the Secretary General to the Committee of Ministers on 22 March 2012, the issue of “safety of journalists” is not limited to the physical integrity of the journalists and is strongly related to other issues which concern the free and effective exercise of the profession of journalism. The Bureau of the CDMSI proposes that the CDMSI take an approach which would be complementary to the work of other IGOs and more relevant to the European reality. A possible structure for such work can be outlined as follows and should be based on instruments already existing and relevant case-law of ECHR:
i) safety of journalists (positive obligations of the state under Articles 2, 3 and 5 of the ECHR, combined with Article 10);
• protection of the physical integrity and right to liberty and security of journalists by preventive measures and an adequate legal framework;
• combating impunity: procedural obligations of States, access to appropriate remedies in the particular circumstances of the exercise of journalism,
ii) support for investigative journalism
• freedom of movement;
• access to information;
• protection of journalists’ sources,
iii) prevention of judicial intimidation of journalists by misuse of law
alignment of laws and practices with the relevant case-law of ECHR, mainly in the following areas:
The main axes of the activity would consist in the promotion of legal protection and incorporation of ECHR case-law by awareness-raising/ capacity building activities and actions.
The necessity to consider the new challenges to the safety and protection of a variety of media professionals and media actors (including bloggers etc.) which go beyond the definitions of classical journalists would be another major concern which should be reflected in the instruments.
Such a work could result in a Declaration on safety of Journalists and be followed by a recommendation(s).
Briefing for the CDMSI on the Council of Europe’s participation
in the seventh edition of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)
Baku, 6-9 November 2012
In the run up to the 2nd phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS - Tunis, November 2005), Internet governance circles advanced that human rights discussions had been exhausted. In response, the Steering Committee on Media and New Communication Services (CDMC) submitted a message to the Committee of Ministers underlining that human rights had to be at the forefront of any Internet governance discussions. It asked the Committee of Ministers to enable the Council of Europe to pursue this goal.
Since then, the Committee of Ministers has included this objective – involving participation in the IGF – in a range of decisions2 and standard setting texts,3 in the Council of Europe Internet Governance Strategy 2012-2015, the CDMSI’s own terms of reference and, also explicitly, in the Programme of Activities.4 The specialised Ministerial Conference held in Reykjavik in May 2009 also supported this approach.
Ensuring a human rights dimension in Internet governance discussions has been the Council of Europe’s biggest achievement in its participation in the IGF to date. Human rights (together with rule of law and democracy concerns) featured in approximately two-thirds of the Baku IGF workshops and events; this resulted in repeated reference to the Council of Europe’s “no harm” principle and its 10 Internet governance principles adopted by member states.
There were eight events organised or co-organised by the Council of Europe involving in aggregate approximately 400 people covering the human rights safeguards in fighting cybercrime, empowering Internet users, the tracking of online personal data, cross-border flow of Internet traffic, freedom of expression and hate speech. In addition, the Council of Europe open forum on anti-terrorism, human rights and the Internet was a popular and rather unique event which contributed to balancing the issues of security and human rights, as was the joint open forum (originally proposed by the CDMSI-Bureau) on the safety of online media actors which was co-organised by the EBU, Council of Europe, UNESCO, OSCE and the European Commission with the support of Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands, Reporters Without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists. The latter event was complemented by a meeting between high level participants5 and Azerbaijan journalists which led to a joint statement.6 In a separate declaration, Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, together with a group of members of the European Parliament “call[ed] on the political leaders of Azerbaijan to immediately adhere to the standards of the Council of Europe”.
The IGF is a multi-stakeholder discussion platform. It was not set up to deliver concrete outputs (agreed standards, declarations or other tangible results) but rather to develop ideas, and momentum for incremental positive change, with the ultimate goal of protecting and preserving the Internet as we know it. It offers opportunities for the Council of Europe to pursue specific objectives such as increased interaction and reconciliation of competing interests of/with stakeholders. This is done in real time with a range of actors who are open to designing public-private partnerships. Such dialogue has brought the Council of Europe into contact with a wide range of interlocutors, many of whom are now regular contributors and supporters of the Council of Europe’s work.7
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a specific example. In the 2007 edition of the IGF, the Deputy Secretary General and the Secretariat met ICANN’s Chief Executive Officer and Board Members, advocating the need for ICANN to take due account of human rights and international law. Following Committee of Ministers decisions, the Council of Europe became observer to ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and has since been actively contributing to its discussions both from a human rights and rule of law angle. In a clear change in direction, in 2012, ICANN’s CEO stated that human rights must have an important place in ICANN’s work.
It is sometimes claimed that the IGF does not deliver any concrete results. However, it is important to stress it has directly inspired and contributed to the Council of Europe’s adopted standards in the field.8 The Council of Europe’s on-going work on a compendium of rights of Internet users was discussed and supported by many in the Baku IGF. Participation in previous editions of the IGF permitted early contacts with high level officials from several Council of Europe member states, contributing to shaping their strong support for freedom of expression in particular on the Internet as one of their countries’ foreign policy priorities.
The multiplier effect of participation in the IGF is impressive. The Council of Europe funds the participation of a limited group of people who directly reach up to 2000 participants on-site and many more via Twitter and other social networks and media platforms. The return on investment is high also in respect of expert debate and momentum for intergovernmental work thereafter. Participation of a relevant member of the Secretariat together with few government and/or independent experts can often replace far more costly meetings of experts.
The IGF has also proven to be an excellent cost-effective pool for identifying and recruiting experts with demonstrated skills and competence including for membership in mixed intergovernmental / independent expert groups.
The Council of Europe has repeatedly transmitted messages of support for the IGF, addressed, inter alia, to the UN structures that support it. These messages have come from the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary General, intergovernmental structures such as the CDMC and its successor Committee CDMSI, as well as from the Conference of Specialised Ministers.
Various Council of Europe expected results will be discussed in the next edition of the IGF (Bali, Autumn 2013) including multi-stakeholder follow up that might be given to the CM Declaration on Internet governance principles and to the CM Recommendation on the protection and promotion of the universality, integrity and openness of the Internet. The objective is to identify ways in which other stakeholders, such as business and civil society, and countries that are not Council of Europe member states, can support Council of Europe outputs such as its 10 Internet governance principles and its commitment to do “no harm” to the internet and to co-operate to resolve any problems that may arise.
The Council of Europe considers the IGF to be an important platform for implementation and capacity building action in the fight against cybercrime and in the protection of personal data pursuant to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and Convention “108”. The unique multi-stakeholder setting of the IGF helps to share Council of Europe expertise and best practice at the global level.
Future IGFs will also offer an opportunity to further build up discussions and showcase Council of Europe work on the Internet dimension of anti-terrorism. Following the recent Pompidou Group9 High Level Meeting focussed on drugs and the Internet (on the one hand, “darknet” and “silk road” used for Internet-based drug trafficking and, on the other hand, the dissemination of drug abuse information on the Internet, prevention and Internet-assisted treatment) this may be another ground-breaking Internet governance theme that the Council of Europe could bring to the IGF.
1 This document has been classified restricted until examination by the Committee of Ministers.
2 CM Decisions of 21 October 2009 (1068th meeting).
3 Declaration on Internet governance principles, adopted on 21 September 2011; Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)8 on the protection and promotion of the universality, integrity and openness of the Internet; Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)16 on measures to promote the public service value of the Internet; Declaration on enhanced participation of member states in Internet governance matters – Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), adopted on 26 May 2010.
4 Cf. more recently, Programme and Budget 2012-2013, Common Standards and Practices, Information Society and Internet Governance, Expected Result 4.
5 Nils Muiznieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights; Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission; Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.
6 While the freedom of speech Rapporteurs / Representatives of the OSCE, UN, OAS and of Africa have issued a number of joint statements in the past, this is the first occasion in which the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights is party to such initiatives.
7 Cf. Programme and Budget 2012-2013 (see note 3 above).
8 Council of Europe deliverables discussed and shaped at IGFs include Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)4 on the protection of human rights with regard to social networking services; Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)3 on the protection of human rights with regard to search engines; Declaration on Public Service Media Governance; Recommendation on public service media governance; Declaration on the protection of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association with regard to privately operated Internet platforms and online service providers, adopted on 7 December 2011; Declaration on Internet governance principles, adopted on 21 September 2011; Declaration on the protection of freedom of expression and information and freedom of assembly and association with regard to Internet domain names and name strings, adopted on 21 September 2011; Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)7 on a new notion of media; Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)8 on the protection and promotion of the universality, integrity and openness of the Internet; Declaration on the management of the Internet protocol address resources in the public interest, adopted on 29 September 2010; Declaration on network neutrality, adopted on 29 September 2010; Declaration on enhanced participation of member states in Internet governance matters – Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), adopted on 26 May 2010; Recommendation CM/Rec(2009)5 on measures to protect children against harmful content and behaviour and to promote their active participation in the new information and communications environment; Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)6 on measures to promote the respect for freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters; Declaration on protecting the dignity, security and privacy of children on the internet, adopted on 20 February 2008; Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)16 on measures to promote the public service value of the Internet.
9 The Pompidou Group’s core mission is to contribute to the development of multidisciplinary, innovative, effective and evidence-based drug policies in its member states.