985th meeting – 31 January 2007

Appendix 13
(Item 5.1e)

Terms of reference of the Group of Specialists on Media Diversity (MC-S-MD)

Fact sheet

Name of Group:

Group of Specialists on Media Diversity (MC-S-MD)

Compliance with Resolution Res(2005)47:

YES

Programme of Activities: project(s)

2004/DG2/40 – Standard-setting and policy assistance on topical issues concerning the media

Project relevance:

Falls fully under Section I.3 of the Action Plan of the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, incorporating in its entirety the Action Plan adopted at the 7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy. Following up on work carried out to date, the terms of reference of the MC-S-MD will contribute to the full implementation of both action plans.

The work of the MC-S-MD concerns pluralism, diversity and social cohesion and integrating all communities and, in consequence, relates closely to the core values of the Council of Europe, both from the angle of the pursuit of genuine democracy and preserving the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, while promoting intercultural dialogue and tolerance.

There is political backing (the terms of reference flow directly from and are intended to contribute to the implementation of the above-mentioned Ministerial Conference Action Plan). Work of the MC-S-MD will reinforce and build upon existing Council of Europe standards.

Project added value:

The Council of Europe is the leading standard-setting organisation in this respect. It is in a favourable position compared with other organisations with regard to the media sector and media diversity. The normative role of the Council of Europe has a great impact on development in the media sector and promoting its work on media diversity, which in terms of both content and ownership is central to the democratic process, is extremely important.

As an expert group dealing with media diversity, the MC-S-MD therefore has a particular role in developing specific proposals as regards freedom of expression/information and pluralism and examining the threats resulting from media concentration.

The synergy with other organisations or agencies is shown by the fact that UNESCO and OSCE participate in the work of the MC-S-MD and that the proposal for a Committee of Ministers’ recommendation on the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions came from this group (the recommendation was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 1 February 2006). Further, in part, the group’s proposed terms of reference are linked to the said UNESCO convention, which proposed additional action through international co-operation at regional level.

To the extent that freedom of expression and media are concerned, this work falls properly with the Steering Committee on Media and New Communication Services and its subordinate bodies.

Financial information:

Number of meetings per year: 2 two-day meetings
Number of participants: 11 reimbursed participants on behalf of member states, other member states at their own expense, PACE, Congress, Conference of International NGOs, EAO, EC, and up to15 other participants.

€22 000 for reimbursement of participation in meetings; €8 000 for interpretation and €2 000 for translation and production of documents.

Terms of reference of the Group of Specialists on Media Diversity (MC-S-MD)

1.

Name of Group:

Group of Specialists on Media Diversity (MC-S-MD)

2.

Type of Group:

Ad hoc Advisory Group

3.

Source of terms of reference:

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

4.

Terms of reference:

 

Having regard to:

the Political Declaration, the Resolution on cultural diversity and media pluralism in times of globalisation and the Action Plan adopted at the 7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy (Kyiv, March 2005), incorporated as an integral part into the Action Plan of the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe.

Under the authority of the Steering Committee on the media and new communication services (CDMC), and in relation with the implementation of Project 2004/DG2/40 “Standard-setting and policy assistance on topical issues concerning the media”, the Group is instructed to:

i.

elaborate a detailed proposal for a methodology for the monitoring of media concentration and, if possible, for measuring the impact of media concentration on media pluralism and content diversity (cf. item 9 of the Kyiv Action Plan);

ii.

complete the monitoring of the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2003)9 of the Committee of Ministers on measures to promote the democratic and social contribution of digital broadcasting, and compile a compendium of good practices in member states in this field (cf. item 14 of the Kyiv Action Plan);

iii.

examine the role of the media in promoting social cohesion and the integration of different communities (cf. item 13 of the Kyiv Action Plan) and in particular:

 

    - pay particular attention to the part that can be played in this context by community, local, minority and social media, and prepare a draft standard-setting instrument on possible measures which could be taken in support of these types of media or their contribution;

 

    - prepare a document or standard-setting instrument addressing the ways in which the public in all its diversity can be involved in consultative programming structures;

 

    - examine the importance of independent productions for media pluralism and social cohesion and prepare a report on the subject or a standard-setting instrument on possible support measures for independent productions (cf. also item 12 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

 

In pursuing the above objectives, the MC-S-MD will take into account the results of the work of the AP-MD on media diversity and transnational concentration in Europe and of the MM-S-DB on the promotion of the democratic and social contribution of digital broadcasting, as well as the work on media pluralism and cultural diversity under way in other international fora.

Upon request by the CDMC, the MC-S-MD shall provide advice and assistance to the CDMC and/or its subordinate bodies on issues concerning media diversity, and carry out any ad hoc assignments given to it by the CDMC.

5.

Composition of the Group:

5.A

Members

 

The Group shall be composed of 11 specialists with expertise in the field of media law and policy, in particular in the above-mentioned issues, to be appointed by the governments of the following member states: Belgium, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

The Council of Europe budget will bear the travel and subsistence expenses of one specialist from each of the above countries for attendance at meetings of the Group.

Other member states expressing an interest in the work of the Group may designate, at their own expense, specialists to participate in meetings of the Group.

5.B

Participants

i.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe may send a representative/representatives to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote and at the charge of its administrative budget.

ii.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe may send a representative/representatives to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote and at the charge of its administrative budget.

iii.

The European Audiovisual Observatory may send a representative to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote and at the charge of its administrative budget.

iv.

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe may send a representative/representatives to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote and at the charge of the sending body.

5.C

Other participants

i.

The European Commission may send a representative/representatives to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

ii.

States with observer status with the Council of Europe (Canada, Holy See, Japan, Mexico, United States of America) may send a representative/ representatives to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

iii.

The following intergovernmental organisations may send a representative/ representatives to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses:

- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO);
- Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

5.D

Observers

 

The following non-governmental organisations may send a representative/ representatives to meetings of the Group, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses:

- Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT);
- European Broadcasting Union (EBU);
- European Federation of Journalists (EFJ);
- European Internet Service Providers’ Association (Euro-ISPA);
- European Newspaper Publishers Association (ENPA);
- On-line More Colour in the Media.

6.

Working methods and structures:

 

The MC-S-MD shall undertake the necessary research and consultations with relevant parties. Where necessary, and in order to accelerate progress in its work, the MC-S-MD may organise hearings and/or colloquies, within the limits of its budget.

7.

Duration:

 

These terms of reference will expire on 31 December 2008.



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