985th meeting – 31 January 2007

Appendix 14
(Item 5.1e)

Terms of reference of the Group of Specialists on public service media in the information society (MC-S-PSM)

Fact sheet

Name of Group:

Group of Specialists on public service media in the information society (MC-S-PSM)

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-PSM (previously MC-S-PSB) will contribute to the full implementation of both action plans.

The work of the MC-S-PSM will focus on the public service media’s contribution to social cohesion and integration of all individuals, to the mutual understanding and tolerance, to the promotion of broader and more active democratic participation of individuals, to the entrenchment of democratic principles and values such as transparency and access to diverse public information, and to a greater appreciation and dissemination of the diversity of national and European cultural heritage.

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-PSM will reinforce and build upon existing Council of Europe standards.

Project added value:

The Council of Europe is the leading standard-setting body in this respect. While the EU recognises, in the Amsterdam Protocol, that public service broadcasting has to be funded even if this distorts marked conditions, provided that this is in the common interest, it does not develop standards about this fundamental public service. Its importance and role has been highlighted inter alia by the Parliamentary Assembly, and there is a need for developing standards that permit the public service remit to be discharged in an evolving technological environment.

Examination of the structural and functional characteristics of public service media is of crucial importance for building a viable public service under the new dynamic conditions of the information society, as a driving force of a pluralist and inclusive democratic system. The interdisciplinary and analytical work, which will be carried out by the Group, represents a unique effort and attaches particular added value to the activity of the CDMC.

 

In the context of its activities, other international organisations (e.g. the OSCE) draw on Council of Europe standards as regards public service media. Consequently, it can fairly be said that there is complementarity and synergies, not duplication, whether within the Council of Europe or vis-à-vis other organisations.

Financial information:

Number of meetings per year: 2 two-day meetings
Number of participants: 12 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.

€24 000 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 public service media in the information society (MC-S-PSM)

1.

Name of Group:

Group of Specialists on public service media in the information society (MC-S-PSM)

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, Resolutions and 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

gather information on how member states ensure the legal, financial, technical and other appropriate conditions required to enable public service media to discharge their remit in the information society in the light of relevant Council of Europe standards, and prepare a compendium of best practices with a view to its broad dissemination (cf. item 15 of the Kyiv Action Plan);

ii

prepare a compendium of best practices of public service media as regards promoting a wider democratic participation of individuals, inter alia with the help of new interactive technologies (cf. item 21 of the Kyiv Action Plan);

iii

prepare a report on the contribution of public service media in the information society in increasing the transparency of public authorities and facilitating their scrutiny, having regard to the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendations Nos. R (81) 19 on access to information held by public authorities and Rec(2002)2 on access to official documents and to ongoing discussions concerning a binding Council of Europe instrument and other developments in this field; the report and any further action proposed (e.g. in the form of draft standard-setting instruments) should also address the issue of transparency and accountability of public service media themselves (cf. item 22 of the Kyiv Action Plan);

iv

prepare a report on the contribution of public service media to the implementation of the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation No. R (97) 21 on media and the promotion of a culture of tolerance, examining, inter alia, how public service media can play a part in promoting social cohesion and integrating all communities and generations, and propose, if appropriate, further action on this subject (cf. item 13 of the Kyiv Action Plan).

 

In doing so, the MC-S-PSM will take into account the existing Council of Europe texts regarding public service media and the results of the work of the MM-S-DB relating to public service broadcasting in a digital environment, as well as work under way on the same issues in other international forums. The MC-S-PSM will also take into account the ongoing work of the Ad hoc Committee on e-democracy (CAHDE) with a view to possible co-operation.

Upon request by the CDMC, the MC-S-PSM shall provide advice and assistance to the CDMC and/or its subordinate bodies on the issues related to the regulation and practices in the field of public service media in the information society 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 12 specialists with expertise in the field of public service media, in particular in the above-mentioned issues, to be appointed by the governments of the following member states: Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, United Kingdom.

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.

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:

- Article 19;
- Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT);
- European Association for the Viewers Interests (EAVI);
- European Broadcasting Union (EBU);
- European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).

6.

Working methods and structures:

 

The MC-S-PSM shall undertake the necessary research and consultations with relevant parties. Where necessary, and in order to accelerate progress in its work, the MC-S-PSM 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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