of the Committee of Ministers to member states
on a new notion of media
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 21 September 2011
at the 1121st meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)
The purpose of media
1. Since their emergence as a means of mass communication, media have been the most important tool for freedom of expression in the public sphere, enabling people to exercise their right to seek and receive information. Media animate and provide a space for public debate. Media offer comment and opinion as part of political dialogue, contribute to setting the political agenda and the shaping of public opinion, and they often seek to promote certain values. Media facilitate the scrutiny of public and political affairs and private or business-related matters, thereby increasing transparency and accountability. Moreover, media provide education, entertainment, cultural and artistic expression. Media also play an important part in the economy, create jobs and generate income.
Media and democracy
2. Freedom of expression, in particular the right to seek, impart and receive information, and its corollary freedom of the media, are indispensable for genuine democracy and democratic processes. In a democratic society, people must be able to contribute to and participate in the decision-making processes which concern them. This applies to local, national or international governance models as well as to other specific communities. In this context, democratic governance should be understood in broad terms to include processes concerning private or business-related matters with public policy relevance or collective interest. All content provided by the media has potential impact on society regardless of the value attributed to it. The power of the media can be misused, especially in a context of strong media concentration, to the detriment of pluralism and democracy.
Media standards and regulation
3. All Council of Europe member states have undertaken to secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, in accordance with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“the Convention”, ETS No. 5). This right is not absolute; it carries with it duties and responsibilities and can be subject to limitations in accordance with Article 10, paragraph 2, of the Convention.
4. Historically, media regulation has been justified by and graduated having regard to its potential high impact on society and on individual rights; regulation has also been a means of managing scarce resources in the public interest. Given their importance for democracy, media have been the subject of extensive Council of Europe standard-setting activity. The purpose has been to ensure the highest protection of media freedom and to provide guidance on duties and responsibilities. As a form of interference, any regulation should itself comply with the requirements set out in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the standards that stem from the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights.
Developments in the media ecosystem
5. Developments in information and communication technologies and their application to mass communication have led to significant changes in the media ecosystem, understood in broad terms to encompass all actors and factors whose interaction allows the media to function and to fulfil their role in society. It has allowed for new ways of disseminating content on a large scale and often at considerably lower cost and with fewer technical and professional requirements. New features include unprecedented levels of interaction and engagement by users, offering new opportunities for democratic citizenship. New applications also facilitate users’ participation in the creation process and in the dissemination of information and content, blurring the boundaries between public and private communication. The media’s intrinsic editorial practices have diversified, adopting new modalities, procedures and outcomes.
6. With these changes in the media ecosystem, the functioning and existence of traditional media actors, as well as their economic models and professional standards, are being complemented or replaced by other actors. New actors have assumed functions in the production and distribution process of media services which, until recently, had been performed only (or mostly) by traditional media organisations; these include content aggregators, application designers and users who are also producers of content. A number of “intermediaries” or “auxiliaries”, often stemming from the information and communication (ICT) sector, including those serving at the outset as mere hosts or conduits (for example infrastructure, network or platform operators), are essential for digital media’s outreach and people’s access to them. Services provided by these new actors have become essential pathfinders to information, at times turning the intermediaries or auxiliaries into gatekeepers or into players who assume an active role in mass communication editorial processes. Such services have complemented or, on occasion, partly replaced traditional media actors in respect of those functions. The roles of each actor can easily change or evolve fluidly and seamlessly. Furthermore, some have developed services or applications which have put them in a dominant position on a national or even at a global level.
A new notion of media which requires a graduated and differentiated approach
7. Despite the changes in its ecosystem, the role of the media in a democratic society, albeit with additional tools (namely interaction and engagement), has not changed. Media-related policy must therefore take full account of these and future developments, embracing a notion of media which is appropriate for such a fluid and multi-dimensional reality. All actors – whether new or traditional – who operate within the media ecosystem should be offered a policy framework which guarantees an appropriate level of protection and provides a clear indication of their duties and responsibilities in line with Council of Europe standards. The response should be graduated and differentiated according to the part that media services play in content production and dissemination processes. Attention should also be paid to potential forms of interference in the proper functioning of media or its ecosystem, including through indirect action against the media’s economic or operational infrastructure.
The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15. b of the Statute of the Council of Europe recommends that member states:
– adopt a new, broad notion of media which encompasses all actors involved in the production and dissemination, to potentially large numbers of people, of content (for example information, analysis, comment, opinion, education, culture, art and entertainment in text, audio, visual, audiovisual or other form) and applications which are designed to facilitate interactive mass communication (for example social networks) or other content-based large-scale interactive experiences (for example online games), while retaining (in all these cases) editorial control or oversight of the contents;
– review regulatory needs in respect of all actors delivering services or products in the media ecosystem so as to guarantee people’s right to seek, receive and impart information in accordance with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and to extend to those actors relevant safeguards against interference that might otherwise have an adverse effect on Article 10 rights, including as regards situations which risk leading to undue self-restraint or self-censorship;
– apply the criteria set out in the appendix hereto when considering a graduated and differentiated response for actors falling within the new notion of media based on relevant Council of Europe media-related standards, having regard to their specific functions in the media process and their potential impact and significance in ensuring or enhancing good governance in a democratic society;
– engage in dialogue with all actors in the media ecosystem in order for them to be properly apprised of the applicable legal framework; invite traditional and new media to exchange good practice and, if appropriate, consult each other in order to develop self-regulatory tools, including codes of conduct, which take account of, or incorporate in a suitable form, generally accepted media and journalistic standards;
– adopt strategies to promote, develop or ensure suitable levels of public service delivery so as to guarantee a satisfactory level of pluralism, diversity of content and consumer choice and ensure close scrutiny or monitoring of developments;
– remain attentive to addressing situations of strong concentration in the media ecosystem which might result in the misuse of an actor’s ability to shape or influence public opinion or people’s choices with potentially adverse consequences in respect of governance and, more particularly, political pluralism and democratic processes, especially as new types of services, applications or platforms gain relevance in these respects;
– undertake action, individually or collectively, to promote these approaches in appropriate international fora.
Appendix to Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)7
Criteria for identifying media and guidance for a graduated and differentiated response
1. Democracy and freedom of expression require member states to refrain from undue interference with the media. Member states should also take proactive measures to promote media freedom, independence, pluralism and diversity and to protect the activities that ensure the adequate functioning of the media ecosystem, understood in broad terms to encompass all actors and factors whose interaction allow the media to function and to fulfil their role in society.
2. The policy framework in place should be clear and the consequences of its application should be foreseeable. It should be articulated towards protecting and promoting freedom of expression, diversity and pluralism, and should identify the duties and responsibilities of all actors in the media ecosystem, subject to the strict limits stipulated in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as interpreted in the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights.
3. Policy-making and, more particularly, regulatory processes should ensure that due attention is paid to the principle that, as a form of interference, any regulation should itself comply with the requirements set out in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the standards that stem from the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights. Regulatory responses should therefore respond to a pressing social need and, having regard to their tangible impact, they should be proportional to the aim pursued.
4. The Council of Europe has developed over the years a significant body of standards with regard to the media in order to assist media policy makers in their necessary endeavour to offer media the protection they need for their proper functioning and in their related policy-making and regulatory activities. In order to assist member states in the implementation of the Recommendation on a New Notion of Media, guidance is proposed in the present Appendix, on the one hand, to facilitate discerning whether particular activities, services or actors might be categorised as media (Part I) and, on the other hand, to inspire a graduated and differentiated policy approach in respect of the various activities, services or actors that are part of the media ecosystem (Part II).
5. The result of examining activities, services or actors in the light of the criteria (and indicators) should assist in gauging the necessity and the extent of policy-making or regulatory needs and also the degree of application of relevant legal frameworks (both as concerns freedoms and responsibilities). For example, policy responses for media focussing on news services may differ from those offering a platform for political debate or entertainment, in turn different from the mere association of revenue-generating activities to the dissemination of content through means of mass communication.
6. To this end, based on existing Council of Europe standards, Part II provides guidance to policy makers on how to apply media standards to new media activities, services or actors. It also offers the opportunity to address, or reinforce, the gender equality perspective in response to the call made by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in its Madrid Declaration “Making gender equality a reality” (12 May 2009) and the call made in the report of the Group of Eminent Persons’ entitled “Living together. Combining diversity and freedom in 21st century Europe”, presented to the Committee of Ministers in Istanbul on 10 May 2011.
7. A differentiated and graduated approach requires that each actor whose services are identified as media or as an intermediary or auxiliary activity benefit from both the appropriate form (differentiated) and the appropriate level (graduated) of protection and that responsibility also be delimited in conformity with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and other relevant standards developed by the Council of Europe.
8. It should also be recalled that newer or emerging modes of mass dissemination of and access to content, and the associated retention, processing and exploitation of data, may well affect the rights protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Media criteria and indicators
9. Media policy makers are invited to take account of the following criteria when considering if particular activities, services or actors ought to be regarded as media.
10. Six criteria are set out below, each supplemented by a set of indicators, which should allow policy makers to identify media and media activities in the new ecosystem. The extent to which criteria are met will permit to recognise whether a new communication service amounts to media or will provide an indication of the bearing of intermediary or auxiliary activity on media services. Indicators should allow for establishing whether and to what extent a particular criterion is met. Not all indicators need to be met to fulfil a particular criterion. Some indicators, such as those relating to professional standards and media ethics, relate to more than one criterion.
11. Similarly, not all criteria carry equal weight. The absence of certain criteria such as purpose (criterion 2), editorial control (criterion 3) or outreach and dissemination (criterion 5) would tend to disqualify a service from being regarded as media. Certain criteria may not be met, such as intent (criterion 1) or public expectation (criterion 6) or not be immediately apparent, which should not automatically disqualify a service from being considered media, but may carry considerable weight if they are present.
12. When considering criteria, account should be taken of the service provider’s own characteristics and idiosyncrasy, as well as the service provider’s maturing process as media, which may have a bearing on the manner of displaying editorial control (criterion 3) or on self-perceived professionalism (criterion 4). Consequently, all criteria (and indicators) should be applied in a flexible manner, interpreting them in the context of specific situations or realities. In the new communication environments, continuous attention is called for, as an actor’s role and operation can easily change and evolve fluidly and seamlessly, which might affect the extent to which one or more criteria are met and thus its potential classification as media.
13. A commonly accepted feature of media is its role in society and its impact on society or bearing on democratic processes. Impact can be seen as part of several of the criteria below. However, given that assessing impact is highly subjective, it should not be considered as a determining factor. All content provided by media has a potential impact on society, whatever the size of the segment of population concerned, and regardless of the value attributed to it by society as a whole.
14. The result of this analysis should be taken into account when shaping media-related policy and when graduating its application, always subject to the caveats of strict necessity and minimum intervention. It will also have a bearing on the extent to which Council of Europe media-related standards apply and the modalities of its application. This entails a need for a flexible response, tailored to a concrete case (namely differentiated) and graduated for the purpose. The response should also take account of the service provider’s own characteristics and idiosyncrasy, as well as that service provider’s maturing process as media.
15. Intermediaries and auxiliaries in the media ecosystem can be distinguished from media as they may meet certain of the criteria or indicators below, but they usually do not meet some of the core criteria such as editorial control (criterion 3) or purpose (criterion 2). However, they often play an essential role, which can give them considerable power as regards outreach and control or oversight over content. As a result, intermediaries and auxiliaries can easily assume an active role in mass communication editorial processes. Member states should therefore consider them carefully in media-related policy making and should be particularly attentive to their own positive and negative obligations stemming from Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This may call for a differentiated policy response in their respect (adapted to particular intermediaries or auxiliaries) having regard to the specificities of the situation (for example when their action can have a bearing on pluralism or on the ability of media served by the intermediaries or auxiliaries in question to fulfil their purpose, to function normally or to continue delivering their services).
Criterion 1 – Intent to act as media
Self-labelling as media
Working methods which are typical for media
Commitment to professional media standards
Practical arrangements for mass communication
16. The volition of an actor is an important factor in assessing whether the actor itself or some or all of its services and products should be regarded as media. It also allows for a first instance in policy differentiation on the basis of different actors’ own perceptions as regards their activities and services.
17. Intent to act as media can be expressed by subjective means (for example by self-declaration as media, self-labelling, brand, declaring a purpose, mission statement or business plan that avow media or journalistic goals) and may be explicit or even formally recorded (as in the case of business registration, purpose stated in a company’s articles of association). These subjective indicators can refer to other criteria, such as purpose (for example resolve to provide regularly updated news), editorial control or professional standards.
18. More particularly, intent can be revealed by the adoption of an editorial policy or commitment to professional and ethical standards which are typical for media. An editorial policy or commitment can also be expressed in the terms and conditions of use which provide explanations to users of a service about the types of content or behaviour that are, or are not, accepted by the operator.
19. Membership in professional media organisations or professional organisations which promote or enforce codes of ethics or good practice or engage in other forms of self-regulation which are typical for media may also be relevant, together with the choice of staff (for example journalists) for certain functions, job descriptions of staff, the training or even the choice of professional insurance (for example against defamation) offered to them.
20. Intent can also be inferred from action taken (for example setting up a business or platform and hiring staff, etc.) to produce or disseminate to a wide audience typical media content (for example information, analysis, comment, opinion, education, culture, art and entertainment in text, audio, visual, audiovisual form).
21. In a new communications environment, this extends to action taken to arrange, aggregate or select (for example by means of algorithms) and to disseminate the above-mentioned content to potentially large numbers of people through means of mass communication. It also extends to operating applications for collective online shared spaces which are designed to facilitate interactive mass communication (or mass communication in aggregate) or other content-based large-scale interactive experiences. It can, in particular, be evidenced by the means, arrangements or structures put in place for mass communication (for example platform or bandwidth enabling mass outreach).
22. While intent is in itself an important criterion, by itself it is not sufficient for considering or treating an actor or any of its services or products as media.
Criterion 2 – Purpose and underlying objectives of media
Produce, aggregate or disseminate media content
Operate applications or platforms designed to facilitate interactive mass communication or mass communication in aggregate (for example social networks) and/or to provide content-based large-scale interactive experiences (for example online games)
With underlying media objective(s) (animate and provide a space for public debate and political dialogue, shape and influence public opinion, promote values, facilitate scrutiny and increase transparency and accountability, provide education, entertainment, cultural and artistic expression, create jobs, generate income – or most frequently, a combination of the above)
Periodic renewal and update of content
23. In spite of the changes in the media ecosystem, the purpose and underlying objective(s) of the media remains on the whole unchanged, namely the provision or dissemination of content to a broad public and the provision of a space for different interactive experiences. Media are the most important tool for freedom of expression.
24. Media’s purpose and underlying objectives remain a determining factor, especially as regards its role in and impact on society. They have been features of choice for identifying media and are highly relevant for media-related policy-making and regulatory processes. They will therefore be an important tool when considering a differentiated and graduated response.
25. A desire to influence public opinion, which has traditionally been one of the key indicators for identifying media or media-related activities, manifests itself in devoting content to matters of public debate and interest and in efforts to reach a large public. Evidence of such influence and impact on society can be derived from research on media’s credibility and trustworthiness and on their ability to achieve those underlying objectives which are relevant for democratic processes (see in this context criteria 5 and 6, relating to outreach and dissemination and to public expectation).
26. However, value judgements in respect of content should not be a determining factor to disqualify services, activities or actors as media. Attention should in particular be paid to the risk of excluding certain activities from consideration as media because of their innovative modalities rather than their essential features. Arranging, aggregating, selecting or, on occasion, even promoting content for its broad dissemination are relevant. Depending on the degree to which criteria are met, the notion of producer may need to be distinguished from media (for example in respect of content-sharing platforms subject to light touch editorial control or ex post moderation). In this respect, reference to traditional media’s interactive or user generated content (for example collaborative, audience participation, call-in, quiz or talk show formats) may be useful. This may bear on the extent and modalities of application of media-related policies to them.
27. New business models have been, and will no doubt continue to be, developed for associating revenue-generating activities to the dissemination of content. This is sometimes at the centre of media activities and can therefore be useful to identify and categorise the underlying media services and activities and to consider the policy and regulatory consequences.
28. The periodic or regular renewal or updating of content should also be given due consideration. This indicator of media has to be applied with precaution given the importance of constant or occasional renewal. Moreover, in a new communications environment where users exercise considerable control over the shaping and the timing of access to content, updating or renewal may well relate more closely to user experience than to timing or to the content itself. This is particularly the case for services involving collective online shared spaces designed to facilitate content-based interactive mass communication in aggregate or other large-scale interactive experiences.
Criterion 3 – Editorial control
29. Editorial freedom or independence is an essential requirement for media and a direct corollary of freedom of expression and the right to hold opinions and to receive and impart information, guaranteed under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. A number of existing Council of Europe standards provide guidance designed to preserve and promote editorial freedom or independence. The reverse of the medal is media’s own editorial control or oversight over content and responsibility for editorial decisions.
30. Editorial control can be evidenced by the actors’ own policy decisions on the content to make available or to promote, and on the manner in which to present or arrange it. Legacy media sometimes publicise explicitly written editorial policies, but they can also be found in internal instructions or criteria for selecting or processing (for example verifying or validating) content. In the new communications environments, editorial policies can be embedded in mission statements or in terms and conditions of use (which may contain very detailed provisions on content), or may be expressed informally as a commitment to certain principles (for example netiquette, motto).
31. The absence of an outward assertion of editorial control by the media should not, by itself, be considered as an indication of its absence. Editorial process involves a set of routines and conventions that inform decision making as regards content. In an evolving media environment, there are many examples of the gradual development and consolidation of editorial process as media mature. As has been the case for legacy media, there may be varying degrees or intensity of control over content, which may be perceived only as regards a small part of it.
32. Editorial process can involve users (for example peer review and take down requests) with ultimate decisions taken according to an internally defined process and having regard to specified criteria (reactive moderation). New media often resort to ex post moderation (often referred to as post-moderation) in respect of user generated content, which may at first sight be imperceptible. Editorial processes may also be automated (for example in the case of algorithms ex ante selecting content or comparing content with copyrighted material).
33. In certain cases, editorial control can be more apparent in respect of selected or promoted content or content associated to revenue-generating activities (for example advertising) than as regards other content (for example user generated material). In turn, part of the content (for example advertising) can be under direct control of a third party by virtue of an agency agreement. Legacy media tend to resort to ex ante editorial control (or pre-moderation) in respect of certain services or activities (for example print media or some broadcasts) but not others (for example collaborative, audience participation, call-in or talk show formats).
34. Staff entrusted with producing, commissioning, collecting, examining, processing or validating content will serve as a reliable indicator of editorial control or oversight. The existence of editorial boards, designated controllers or supervisors with editorial powers, or arrangements for responding to or dealing with users requests or complaints as regards content, will be particularly helpful in this respect.
35 Again, it should be noted that different levels of editorial control go along with different levels of editorial responsibility. Different levels of editorial control or editorial modalities (for example ex ante as compared with ex post moderation) call for differentiated responses and will almost certainly permit best to graduate the response.
36. Consequently, a provider of an intermediary or auxiliary service which contributes to the functioning or accessing of a media but does not – or should not – itself exercise editorial control, and therefore has limited or no editorial responsibility, should not be considered to be media. However, their action may be relevant in a media context. Nonetheless, action taken by providers of intermediary or auxiliary services as a result of legal obligations (for example take down of content in response to a judicial order) should not be considered as editorial control in the sense of the above.
Criterion 4 – Professional standards
Asserting prerogatives, rights or privileges
37. Media have built trust over time through competence and professionalism of their staff, in particular journalists. Collectively, they have expressed their commitment to preserve their values in a wide range of declarations, charters and codes which they seek to promote throughout the sector and transmit to their peers, in particular to newcomers to the profession. Specific media have reinforced this through their own internal codes of practice, staff regulations or instructions and norms as to procedure and style. Self-regulation also speaks of the importance of media and journalism for our societies, especially for democracy.
38. However it is expressed, adhesion to the profession’s own ethics, deontology and standards is a strong media indicator; standards frequently mentioned in this context are truthfulness, responsibility, freedom of expression and of the media, equality, fairness, and journalistic independence. In new media, evidence of this criterion can be less apparent, but may be found in mission statements, in staff regulations or in terms and conditions of use. The selection of staff, the tasks entrusted to them, guidance for their performance, or their professional background or competence could also be relevant.
39. Media (and journalists’) ethics, deontology and standards are the basis of media accountability systems. There is a wide range of media accountability systems; they include media or press councils, ombudspersons (including in-house users’ advocates), informal peer (media) review, and a range of formal or informal processes that permit to hold media to account for their performance or to conduct ethical audits.
40. Media accountability systems extend to complaint procedures and to the existence of bodies tasked with examining complaints and deciding on compliance with professional standards. In this connection, attention should be paid to the availability of remedies typical of media (for example reply, correction, apology) or other means of providing satisfaction in response to complaints about the content disseminated.
41. As regards in particular new media, codes of conduct or ethical standards for bloggers have already been accepted by at least part of the online journalism community. Nonetheless, bloggers should only be considered media if they fulfil the criteria to a sufficient degree. In the absence of self-regulation, national and international decisions or case law (for example of national judges or data protection authorities and international bodies, including the European Court of Human Rights) are also contributing to the shaping of standards (for example as regards privacy or the protection of personal data, or the protection of children from harmful content).
42. Seeking to benefit from protection or privileges offered to media can be very revealing. Prerogatives, rights and privileges which can be asserted by media or by journalists, subject to relevant legal provisions, include: the protection of sources; privileged communications and protection against seizure of journalistic material; freedom of movement and access to information; the right to accreditation; protection against misuse of libel and defamation laws (for example defences as regards the truthfulness and accuracy of information, good faith public interest).
Criterion 5 – Outreach and dissemination
Mass-communication in aggregate
Resources for outreach
43. In order to achieve the purposes described above, media seek outreach to a large number of people. Media or mass communication has traditionally been defined as mediated public communication addressed to a large audience and open to all. Outreach or actual dissemination (number of copies, viewers or users) is therefore an important indicator in identifying media and in distinguishing it from private communication, including private communication taking place in a public space (which is not, in itself media, but could be incorporated into media or mass communication in aggregate). However, there is no single or common understanding of what is mass or large audience; it can easily range from a territorial, interest or other community (for example the target of local, professional or community media) to potentially global audiences (in the case of satellite television or certain Internet services).
44. Technologies making possible non-linear or on-demand delivery of content, conditional access, unbundling of electronically delivered content, personalisation of content or unicasting, bring a different dimension to the term and have brought a new dimension to mass communication. So has the capacity of the Internet to support the full range of public (one-to-many, many-to-many) communication, as well as group (few-to-few) and private communication (one-to-one); the fact that such communication takes place on the internet (a public space) does not necessarily imply that it is media.
45. For an assessment of outreach, attention should be paid to the aggregated audience, namely all those sharing the platform or common features of the service and who can be reached by the content produced, arranged, selected, aggregated or distributed by the operator, including when the delivery of or access to content is not simultaneous. It may be useful to consider separately the question of content sought by the user and that directly or indirectly related to the revenue-generating activity of the operator of the service. The number of registered users is therefore relevant.
46. The above is consistent with emerging case law which suggests a fine line between private and public communication; as a result, publishing content in social networks has attracted consequences proper to public communication. However, this does not entail categorising the users as media (which would have given them access to media or journalists’ prerogatives or privileges). To meet this criterion, a content provider has to take concrete steps to power or project content to a mass-communication dimension; this outreach could be evidenced by recourse to sufficient bandwidth or developing suitable distribution platforms. Attention should be paid to the possibility of rapid developments in this respect.
47. The new fluid ecosystem allows for media to operate easily within other media or for different operators to overlap, sometimes blurring the boundaries between them. It is therefore important to distinguish their respective roles, so as to discern their respective responsibilities. This process may be facilitated by exploring the degree to which the guest, separately, meets the media criteria. This is also important in order not to overstretch the notion of media to unduly include users who produce or contribute to generating content.
48. Together with other criteria, the dimension of entirely closed collective online shared spaces designed to facilitate interactive communication should permit to determine whether they are media. However, the mere fact of restricted access should not automatically disqualify them (this is comparable to media services only available by subscription).
49. The level of outreach and dissemination is an important criterion which, clearly, has an impact on a differentiated and graduated approach. If outreach and dissemination are low, a service should not be considered media. However, this should be considered having regard to the size of the market or potential audience or user base and also potential impact. The absence of sufficiently large outreach and dissemination does not preclude something from being considered to be media but, in all such cases, those circumstances will have a bearing on differentiation and graduation.
Criterion 6 – Public expectation
Pluralism and diversity
Respect of professional and ethical standards
Accountability and transparency
50. People’s expectations follow largely the preceding criteria (and the related indicators). They expect that media be available and will be there for them when they wish to turn their attention to it. Without prejudice to discontinuation or temporary suspension, media services are therefore presumed ongoing and broadly accessible (this does not rule out services for consideration, by subscription or subject to membership arrangements).
51. In general, people recognise media and rely to a large extent on media for information and other content. They expect that content will be produced according to relevant professional standards. In a democratic society, they count on the availability of a range of sources of information and expect their content to be diverse, responding to the interests of different segments in society.
52. Depending on the purpose and nature of specific media, public expectation may vary. Expectations in respect of public service media are higher than in respect of certain other media. News media will naturally be expected to be regularly updated and disseminated periodically. People even have expectations as regards content of a commercial nature, which are higher in respect of media or media content designed for minors.
53. In order to be able to fulfil their role and achieve their purpose, media have to earn the trust of the public. Depending on the expressed or perceived purpose, editorial policy, financing model and impact, the trust accorded by the public to media varies. The development of professional and ethical standards to a large extent reflects people’s expectations. However, self-regulation may not always be regarded as sufficient and people look to public authorities to ensure that minima are guaranteed. There are also expectations as to transparency and accountability. Higher levels of expected trustworthiness, standards, transparency and accountability does not necessarily bring about higher outreach, dissemination or impact.
54. Public expectation in a given society may, to some extent, be revealed by law makers’ interest on and attention to the subject, and by existing regulation (including co-regulation). In a global society where media know no borders, there is an expectation of some degree of harmonisation also in the understanding of what media is. Comparative solutions may therefore be relevant.
55. The level and nature of public expectation can change rapidly both as regards the media themselves and the part to be played by policy makers, depending on whether and the extent to which other criteria and indicators are met.
Standards applied to media in the new ecosystem
56. The objective of this part is to offer guidance to policy makers on how to apply media standards to new media activities, services or actors in a graduated and differentiated manner. Further, it provides a substantive basis for implementing the recommendation that member states engage in dialogue with all actors in the media ecosystem in order for them to be properly apprised of the applicable legal framework. It should also assist media actors in any self-regulatory exercise in which they may engage.
57. While the Recommendation on a new notion of media and Part I of this appendix are expected to stand the test of time because of their broad nature, this part, which is of a more pragmatic nature, may need to be further developed, adapted or revised periodically in light of changes in the media ecosystem.
58. Media and journalists are subject to general legal provisions (namely those that are not specific to the media, whether civil, commercial, corporate, tax or penal law). However, given media’s needs and role in society, certain general provisions may need to be interpreted specifically for the media (for example in respect of defamation, surveillance, stop and search, state secrets or corporate confidentiality) or their application be scrutinised to avoid their misuse to covertly impinge on media freedom.
59. Subject to the principle that, as a form of interference, media regulation should comply with the requirements of strict necessity and minimum intervention, specific regulatory frameworks should respond to the need to protect media from interference (recognising prerogatives, rights and privileges beyond general law, or providing a framework for their exercise), to manage scarce resources (to ensure media pluralism and diversity of content – cf. Article 10, paragraph 1 in fine, of the European Convention on Human Rights) or to address media responsibilities (within the strict boundaries set out in Article 10, paragraph 2, of the Convention and the related case law of the European Court of Human Rights). These considerations inspired the structure of this part of the appendix.
60. In each case, an indication is given of existing Council of Europe standards, and their application in a new media environment is briefly explained. There is no attempt to set out standards in an exhaustive manner. Those selected should be seen as examples which can provide some inspiration for the application of other relevant Council of Europe standards. Given the nature and scope of this instrument, guidance is presented in very broad terms; more precise guidance will have to be deduced from related Committee of Ministers standard-setting instruments (a proposed list is set out at the end of the section). The application of standards will be subject to and evolve in line with developments as regards media actors, services and activities.
A. Rights, privileges and prerogatives
Media freedom and editorial independence
Freedom from censorship
Protection against misuse of defamation laws and risk of chilling effect
61. There is no genuine democracy without independent media. Media freedom should be understood in broad terms. It comprises freedom of expression and the right to disseminate content. As stipulated in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, this right has to be guaranteed regardless of frontiers. Actors should be able to initiate media activities or to evolve without undue difficulty from private or semi-private communication in a public space into mass communication. In particular, there should be no prior authorisation processes; if required, declaration of media activities should pursue the objective of enhancing their protection against interference, without creating unwarranted obstacles to their operation.
62. There are many examples of interference or attempts to interfere with the independence of media in the new ecosystem. There have been reports of direct pressure by politicians on media to withhold or withdraw content and also calls on intermediaries to exclude media actors from their hosting services. Respect of editorial independence requires absence of censorship or ex ante control of content. Media should be free from blocking and filtering measures. Public disclosure of all such incidents should be welcome.
63. The importance of the role of intermediaries should be underlined. They offer alternative and complementary means or channels for the dissemination of media content, thus broadening outreach and enhancing effectiveness in media’s achievements of its purposes and objectives. In a competitive intermediaries and auxiliaries market, they may significantly reduce the risk of interference by authorities. However, given the degree to which media have to rely on them in the new ecosystem, there is also a risk of censorship operated through intermediaries and auxiliaries. Certain situations may also pose a risk of private censorship (by intermediaries and auxiliaries in respect of media to which they provide services or content they carry).
64. There is growing concern about denial of service attacks against media in the digital environment. Smaller media operators, which are a key component of a plural and diverse media landscape, are most vulnerable. As a result, they may also be refused hosting services. Claims have also been made of indirect action against media by obstructing their funding arrangements; tax or competition procedures could be misused in a similar way.
65. In the new ecosystem, all media should be preserved from pressure, including that which is politically motivated or stemming from economic interests. Media should be free from censorship and preserved from self-censorship. Editorial independence requires effective and manifest separation between ownership or control over media and decision making as regards content. This is an important factor in the maturing process of media. Persons who exercise political authority or influence should refrain from participating in media’s editorial decisions. This is particularly relevant as regards media in the new ecosystem which carry content capable of shaping opinion or informing the electorate’s political decisions. These considerations apply equally to content creators and distributors.
66. Libel and defamation laws can be misused to interfere with, or by way of reprisal against, media. They can have a strong chilling effect. According to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, expressions (or content) which disturb, shock or offend must be tolerated. Subject to the respect or clearing of pertinent intellectual property rights, media should be able to rely on prior media reports or published material without risk. However, in the new ecosystem, consideration needs to be given to the accumulated or multiplied impact and the possible need to apportion responsibility in case of damage (for example resulting from dissemination by a first outlet as compared to the enhanced or multiplied impact when the same content is disseminated by other, including mainstream, media).
67. All media in the new ecosystem should be entitled to use the defences of truthfulness and accuracy of information, good faith or public interest (in particular in the context of scrutiny of the conduct of public or political figures and public officials, and also in respect of matters a priori covered by state secrets or by corporate confidentiality rules). Media should be confident that, when assessing content, fact will be treated differently from opinion (the latter allowing for greater freedom). Media should also be able to rely on freedom of satire and the right to exaggeration.
68. Any action sought against media in respect of content should respect strictly applicable laws; above all international human rights law, in particular the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, and comply with procedural safeguards. There should be a presumption in favour of freedom of expression and information and in favour of media freedom. Due account should be taken of the role of users and of the nature of user generated content.
69. Whether in the form of negative obligations (not to interfere) or positive obligations (to facilitate the exercise of freedom of expression and the right to impart and receive information regardless of frontiers, including by ensuring the availability of effective remedies in case of interference by other actors) the duty bearer of these rights, privileges and prerogatives is the state. This should be graduated depending on the circumstances of each case and the realistic possibilities for the state to take necessary preventive or remedial measures. State responsibility should, in no case, be interpreted as allowing for any control, inspection or interference, or indeed any other action, capable of obstructing the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression and the right to impart and receive information regardless of frontiers.
Right to investigate
Protection of journalists and journalistic sources
70. Media’s right to investigate is essential for democracy; it should therefore be recognised, preserved and promoted in the new media ecosystem. Journalists’ right to investigate may be facilitated by accreditation; where applicable, media professionals in the new ecosystem should be offered accreditation without discrimination and without undue delay or impediment. The rights to freedom of movement (for example access to crisis zones) and access to information are highly relevant for all media professionals. Where appropriate, they should be offered protection without discrimination.
71. The above may extend, in certain cases, to providing protection or some form of support (for example guidance or training so that they do not put their own lives at risk) to actors who, while meeting certain of the criteria and indicators set out in Part I of this appendix, may not fully qualify as media (for example individual bloggers). A graduated response should take account of the extent to which such actors can be considered part of the media ecosystem and contributors to the functions and role of media in a democratic society.
72. Other essential components of the right to investigate are privacy of communications and the protection against seizure of professional material. Any form of surveillance of media professionals, including the tracking of their movements through electronic means, should be considered with great circumspection and be made the subject of reinforced safeguards.
73. The protection of sources is increasingly the subject of formal legal recognition. There is a need for robust protection of whistleblowers. In the new media ecosystem, the protection of sources should extend to the identity of users who make content of public interest available on collective online shared spaces which are designed to facilitate interactive mass communication (or mass communication in aggregate); this includes content-sharing platforms and social networking services. Arrangements may be needed to authorise the use of pseudonyms (for example in social networks) in cases where disclosure of identity might attract retaliation (for example as a consequence of political or human rights activism).
Fair access to distribution channels
Intermediaries and auxiliaries
74. Media should have fair access to electronic communication networks (including hosting services) and should be able to rely on the principle of net neutrality. Interoperability and open standards may be useful tools for eliminating technical barriers to the dissemination of media content. Consideration might be given to reinterpreting “must carry” rules in the new media ecosystem.
75. To the extent that their action or decisions can have an impact on media in the new ecosystem, intermediaries and auxiliaries should be free from pressure or influence intended to bear on media, its independence or its editorial decisions. Policy measures may be required to give effect to this requirement.
76. In case of legitimate action (for example resulting from understandable business decisions) by an intermediary, auxiliary or other actor bearing on essential conditions for the media’s operation, arrangements may be desirable to preserve the media’s ongoing functioning (for example to preserve pluralism and diversity in the public interest). This may call for additional safeguards (for example in the context of judicial procedures) or consideration by relevant authorities of possible means to prevent or mitigate the undesirable outcome. This may also be relevant, mutatis mutandis, as regards action by authorities (for example applying tax law) if such action can have a negative impact on media freedoms and pluralism and to the extent necessary in a democratic society.
B. Media pluralism and diversity of content
Management of scarce resources
Transparency of ownership
Public service media
77. As has already been indicated, actors in the new ecosystem should be able to initiate media activities or to evolve into media activities without undue difficulty. In particular, there should be no prior authorisation processes. In the new media ecosystem there is a plethora of actors, means and platforms for distribution and content; nonetheless, licensing may still be justified in exceptional cases by the need to manage scarce resources (for example the electromagnetic wavelength spectrum).
78. Limited to such exceptional cases, licensing or authorisation should pursue the public interest, namely to guarantee the existence of a wide range of independent and diverse media. Licensing and authorisation measures should respond to necessity, and persistence of the need for such measures should be reconsidered in light of developments.
79. Pluralism will not be automatically guaranteed by the existence of a large number of means of mass communication accessible to people. Moreover, in a situation of strong media concentration, the ability to shape or influence public opinion or people’s choices may lie with one or only a few actors. Misuse of this power can have adverse consequences for political pluralism and for democratic processes. In the new media ecosystem, some actors have already developed services or applications which have put them in a dominant position on a national or even at a global level. Even if there is no evidence of misuse, such a dominant position can pose a potential risk.
80. Monitoring trends and concentration in the media ecosystem will permit the competent authorities to keep abreast of developments and to assess risks. Regulatory measures may be required with a view to guaranteeing full transparency of media ownership. This will help identify suitable preventive or remedial action, if appropriate and having regard to the characteristics of each media market, with a view to preventing media concentration levels that could pose risks to democracy or the role of the media in democratic processes.
81. Public service media is essential in the European model, involving the coexistence of public service, commercial and community media. They should adhere to high professional standards and should, ideally, involve the public in its governance structures. Their objective should be to ensure universal delivery, quality, trustworthy and diverse content, and political pluralism in the media. Adequately equipped and funded public service media, enjoying genuine editorial independence and institutional autonomy, should contribute to counterbalancing the risk of misuse of the power of the media in a situation of strong media concentration.
82. Public service media should therefore have a distinct place in the new media ecosystem, and should be equipped to provide high-quality and innovative content and services in the digital environment, and should be able to resort to relevant tools (for example to facilitate interaction and engagement).
83. The new ecosystem offers an unprecedented opportunity to incorporate diversity into media governance, in particular as regards gender balanced participation in the production, editorial and distribution processes. The same is true as regards various ethnic and religious groups. This will be a key factor in ensuring balanced representation and coverage by media and in combating stereotypes in respect of all constituent groups of society.
C. Media responsibilities
Respect for dignity and privacy
Respect for the presumption of innocence and fair trial
Respect for the right of property
Remedies for third parties
84. The watchdog function, namely scrutiny of public and political affairs and private or business-related matters of public interest, contributes to justify media’s broad freedom; however, it is counterpoised by a requirement of greater diligence in respect of factual information. Scrutiny should involve accurate, in-depth and critical reporting. It should be distinguished from journalistic practices which involve unduly probing into and exposing people’s private and family lives in a way that would be incompatible with their fundamental rights. Media should exercise special care not to contribute to stereotypes about members of particular ethnic or religious groups and to sexist stereotypes. Representatives of all groups should be offered the opportunity to contribute to content, express their views and explain their understanding of facts; media should consider adopting a proactive approach in this respect.
85. Subject to accuracy of information, the right to the respect of one’s honour and reputation finds its limits in the public interest. Professionalism requires verifying information and assessing credibility, but there is no requirement to inform a person of the intention to disseminate information in their respect prior to its dissemination. The exigency of accuracy is less pertinent for opinion, comment and entertainment, which also permit exaggeration. However, media should distinguish these forms of expression from factual information.
86. The above requirements should be graduated having regard to the editorial policies and processes adopted by the media concerned and their potential outreach and impact, and also public expectation in their respect. Media content creators, editors and distributors should adhere to relevant professional standards, including those designed to combat discrimination and stereotypes and to promote gender equality. They should exercise special care to ensure ethical coverage of minority and women’s issues also by associating minorities and women to creation, editorial and distribution processes.
87. The role of media, whether new or legacy, in informing the public about criminal proceedings is important in a democratic society. In exercising their editorial responsibility, media should be attentive not to perturb the course of justice or undermine the correct functioning of the judiciary, the privacy and safety of all those involved and, in particular, the presumption of innocence of the suspect or accused. Particular attention should be paid to preserving the dignity of vulnerable persons, victims, witnesses and relatives of persons concerned by criminal proceedings. This should not preclude providing information in the public interest.
88. There is a vast amount of personal information and data in the new media ecosystem, including in online shared spaces designed to facilitate interactive mass communication (or mass communication in aggregate). The management, aggregation and use of such information and data should respect people’s right to private and family life as protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, having regard also to the provisions of Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108). The persistence of content in digital environments and its potential for broad dissemination and re-use calls for special care and, in case of need, quick action with a view to mitigating damage. Media operating in the new ecosystem should also place high on their agenda the respect of human rights related standards in respect of profiling.
89. In the new ecosystem, considerable amounts of content are re-used or re-transmitted. In this connection, media should respect the intellectual property rights of others. Without prejudice to the private and collective private enjoyment of content, including in online shared spaces, and other forms of authorised use, attention should be paid to the modalities of application and respect of those rights in the context of user-generated or posted content.
90. Effective internal media accountability systems underpinned by appropriate professional standards often justify the absence of, or decrease the need for, external accountability. Actors in the new ecosystem should develop adequate complaints mechanisms and strive to offer remedies to third parties who consider that they have suffered prejudice because of media activities or services (for example right to reply, correction, apology).
Rights of children
Rights of women
Rights of minorities
91. Media should refrain from conveying hate speech and other content that incites violence or discrimination for whatever reason. Special attention is needed on the part of actors operating collective online shared spaces which are designed to facilitate interactive mass communication (or mass communication in aggregate). They should be attentive to the use of, and editorial response to, expressions motivated by racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynist, sexist (including as regards LGBT people) or other bias. Actors in the new media ecosystem may be required (by law) to report to the competent authorities criminal threats of violence based on racial, ethnic, religious, gender or other grounds that come to their attention.
92. On the other hand, media can provide a balanced (or positive) image of the various groups that make up society and contribute to a culture of tolerance and dialogue. Other than in the cases prescribed by law with due respect to the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, no group in society should be discriminated from in the exercise of the right to association which, in the new media ecosystem, includes online association.
93. Particular attention should be paid to preserving the dignity, security and privacy of children. Content concerning them can be a source of present and future prejudice. Consequently, there should be no lasting or permanently accessible record of the content about or created by children, which challenges their dignity, security or privacy, or otherwise renders them vulnerable now or at a later stage in their lives.
94. Risk of harm may arise from a wide range of content and behaviour. Content intended only for adults should be clearly identifiable to facilitate rendering it inaccessible to children. Protection of children should not impinge on their freedom of expression and right to seek and receive information. Media can contribute to the development of safe spaces (walled gardens), as well as other tools facilitating access to websites and content appropriate for children, to the development and voluntary use of labels and trustmarks, to the development of skills among children, parents and educators to understand better and deal with content and behaviour that carries a risk of harm.
95. Harassment, bullying, intimidation and stalking can be facilitated in the new media ecosystem by collective online shared spaces, tracking applications or even search engines and profiling technology. Women are frequent victims of these forms of abuse, which can lead to physical (including sexual) abuse and violence which are unacceptable expressions of inequality. Attention should also be paid to the possible abusive use of technology in respect of members of minorities.
96. In the above-mentioned cases, the response will depend on the circumstances, including the nature and scope of the activity or service in question, as well as the actor’s own editorial processes. A graduated approach should consider the possibilities of the actors concerned (for example those operating collective online shared spaces or offering search engine, tracking or profiling applications and technology) to address or mitigate the risks in question. Relevant stakeholders could be encouraged to explore together the feasibility of removing or deleting content in appropriate cases, to the extent that it is not inconsistent with the fundamental right to freedom of expression, including its traces (logs, records and processing), within a reasonably short period of time. Greater technical capabilities bring with them greater responsibility. Self-regulation could usefully be complemented by capacity building (for example enhancing intercultural competencies) and by sharing best or corrective practices developed within sectors of activity in the new media ecosystem.
97. Freedom of expression also applies to commercial and political advertising, tele-shopping and sponsorship. Limitations in this respect are only admissible within the conditions set out in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Such limitations may be needed for the protection of consumers, minors, public health or democratic processes.
98. The potential for abusive, intrusive or surreptitious advertising is greater in the new media ecosystem than ever before. It calls for enhanced responsibility on the part of media actors. It may call for self- or co-regulation and, in certain cases, regulation.
D. Reference instruments
Convention and treaties of the Council of Europe in the media field
- Convention on Information and Legal Co-operation concerning “Information Society Services” (ETS No. 180, 2001)
- European Convention on the Legal Protection of Services based on, or consisting of, Conditional Access (ETS No. 178, 2000)
- European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ETS No. 132, 1989) and the Protocol amending the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ETS No. 171, 1998)
- European Convention relating to questions on Copyright Law and Neighbouring Rights in the Framework of Transfrontier Broadcasting by Satellite (ETS No. 153, 1994)
- European Agreement concerning Programme Exchanges by means of Television Films (ETS No. 27, 1958)
- European Agreement on the Protection of Television Broadcasts (ETS No. 34, 1960)
- European Agreement for the Prevention of Broadcasts transmitted from Stations outside National Territories (ETS No. 53, 1965)
Other conventions with provisions relevant for the media
- Convention on Cybercrime (ETS No. 185, 2001) and Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems (ETS No. 189, 2003)
- Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108, 1981) and Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows (ETS No. 181, 2001)
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ETS No. 157, 1995)
- European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ETS No. 148, 1992)
Committee of Ministers
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)13 on the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data in the context of profiling
- Declaration on the management of the Internet protocol address resources in the public interest (29 September 2010)
- Declaration on network neutrality (29 September 2010)
- Declaration on the Digital Agenda for Europe (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) (26 May 2010)
- Declaration on measures to promote the respect of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (13 January 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
- Declaration on the role of community media in promoting social cohesion and intercultural dialogue (11 February 2009)
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)6 on measures to promote the respect for freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters
- Declaration on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities for the broadcasting sector (26 March 2008)
- Declaration on protecting the dignity, security and privacy of children on the Internet (20 February 2008)
- Declaration on the allocation and management of the digital dividend and the public interest (20 February 2008)
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)16 on measures to promote the public service value of the Internet
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)15 on measures concerning media coverage of election campaigns
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)11 on promoting freedom of expression and information in the new information and communications environment
- Recommendation Rec(2007)3 on the remit of public service media in the information society
- Recommendation Rec(2007)2 on media pluralism and diversity of media content
- Guidelines on protecting freedom of expression and information in times of crisis (26 September 2007)
- Declaration on the protection and promotion of investigative journalism (26 September 2007)
- Declaration on protecting the role of the media in democracy in the context of media concentration (31 January 2007)
- Recommendation Rec(2006)12 on empowering children in the new information and communications environment
- Recommendation Rec(2006)3 on the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions
- Declaration on the guarantee of the independence of public service broadcasting in the member states (27 September 2006)
- Declaration on human rights and the rule of law in the Information Society (13 May 2005)
- Declaration on freedom of expression and information in the media in the context of the fight against terrorism (2 March 2005)
- Recommendation Rec(2004)16 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the right of reply in the new media environment
- Declaration on freedom of political debate in the media (12 February 2004)
- Recommendation Rec(2003)13 on the provision of information through the media in relation to criminal proceedings
- Recommendation Rec(2003)9 on measures to promote the democratic and social contribution of digital broadcasting
- Declaration on the provision of information through the media in relation to criminal proceedings (10 July 2003)
- Declaration on freedom of communication on the Internet (28 May 2003)
- Political message to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (19 June 2003)
- Recommendation Rec(2002)7 on measures to enhance the protection of the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations
- Recommendation Rec(2002)2 on access to official documents
- Recommendation Rec(2001)8 on self-regulation concerning cyber content (self-regulation and user protection against illegal or harmful content on new communications and information services)
- Recommendation Rec(2001)7 on measures to protect copyright and neighbouring rights and combat piracy, especially in the digital environment
- Recommendation Rec(2000)23 on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities for the broadcasting sector
- Recommendation Rec(2000)7 on the right of journalists not to disclose their sources of information
- Declaration on cultural diversity (7 December 2000)
- Recommendation Rec(99)15 on measures concerning media coverage of election campaigns
- Recommendation Rec(99)14 on universal community service concerning new communication and information services
- Recommendation Rec(99)5 for the protection of privacy on the Internet
- Recommendation Rec(99)1 on measures to promote media pluralism
- Declaration on the exploitation of protected radio and television productions held in the archives of broadcasting organisations (9 September 1999)
- Declaration on a European policy for new information technologies (7 May 1999)
- Recommendation Rec(97)21 on the media and the promotion of a culture of tolerance
- Recommendation Rec(97)20 on “hate speech”
- Recommendation Rec (97)19 on the portrayal of violence in the electronic media
- Recommendation Rec(96)10 on the guarantee of the independence of public service broadcasting
- Recommendation Rec(96)4 on the protection of journalists in situations of conflict and tension
- Declaration on the protection of journalists in situations of conflict and tension (3 May 1996)
- Recommendation Rec(95)13 concerning problems of criminal procedural law connected with information technology
- Recommendation Rec(95)1 on measures against sound and audio-visual piracy
- Recommendation Rec(94)13 on measures to promote media transparency
- Recommendation Rec(94)3 on the promotion of education and awareness in the area of copyright and neighbouring rights concerning creativity
- Declaration on neighbouring rights (17 February 1994)
- Recommendation Rec(93)5 containing principles aimed at promoting the distribution and broadcasting of audiovisual works originated in countries or regions with a low audiovisual output or a limited geographic or linguistic coverage on the European television markets
- Resolution Res(92)70 on establishing a European Audiovisual Observatory
- Recommendation Rec(92)19 on video games with a racist content
- Recommendation Rec(92)15 concerning teaching, research and training in the field of law and information technology
- Recommendation Rec(91)14 on the legal protection of encrypted television services
- Recommendation Rec(91)5 on the right to short reporting on major events where exclusive rights for their television broadcast have been acquired in a transfrontier context
- Recommendation Rec(90)11 on principles relating to copyright law questions in the field of reprography
- Recommendation Rec(90)10 on cinema for children and adolescents
- Recommendation Rec(89)7 concerning principles on the distribution of videograms having a violent, brutal or pornographic content
- Resolution Res(88)15 setting up a European support fund for the co-production and distribution of creative cinematographic and audiovisual works (“Eurimages”)
- Recommendation Rec(88)2 on measures to combat piracy in the field of copyright and neighbouring rights
- Recommendation Rec(88)1 on sound and audiovisual private copying
- Recommendation Rec(87)7 on film distribution in Europe
- Recommendation Rec(86)14 on the drawing up of strategies to combat smoking, alcohol and drug dependence in co-operation with opinion-makers and the media
- Recommendation Rec(86)9 on copyright and cultural policy
- Recommendation Rec(86)3 on the promotion of audiovisual production in Europe
- Recommendation Rec(86)2 on principles relating to copyright law questions in the field of television by satellite and cable
- Recommendation Rec(85)8 on the conservation of the European film heritage
- Recommendation Rec(85)6 on aid for artistic creation
- Recommendation Rec(84)22 on the use of satellite capacity for television and sound radio
- Recommendation Rec(84)17 on equality between women and men in the media
- Recommendation Rec(84)3 on principles on television advertising
- Declaration on the freedom of expression and information (29 April 1982)
- Recommendation Rec(81)19 on the access to information held by public authorities
- Recommendation Rec(80)1 on sport and television
- Recommendation Rec(79)1 concerning consumer education of adults and consumer information
- Resolution Res(74)43 on press concentrations
- Resolution Res(74)26 on the right of reply – Position of the individual in relation to the press
- Resolution Res(70)19 on educational and cultural uses of radio and television in Europe and the relations in this respect between public authorities and broadcasting organisations
- Resolution Res(67)13 on the press and the protection of youth
- Resolution Res(61)23 on the exchange of television programmes
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
- Recommendation 1950 (2011) “The protection of journalists’ sources”
- Recommendation 1897 (2010) “Respect for media freedom”
- Recommendation 1882 (2009) “The promotion of Internet and online media services appropriate for minors”
- Recommendation 1878 (2009) “The funding of public service broadcasting”
- Recommendation 1855 (2009) “The regulation of audiovisual media services”
- Resolution 1636 and Recommendation 1848 (2008) “Indicators for media in a democracy”
- Recommendation 1836 (2008) “Realising the full potential of e-learning for education and training”
- Resolution 1577 and Recommendation 1814 (2007) “Towards decriminalisation of defamation”
- Recommendation 1805 (2007) “Blasphemy, religious insults and hate speech against persons on grounds of their religion”
- Resolution 1557 and Recommendation 1799 (2007) “The image of women in advertising”
- Recommendation 1789 (2007) “Professional education and training of journalists”
- Resolution 1535 and Recommendation 1783 (2007) “Threats to the lives and freedom of expression of journalists”
- Recommendation 1773 (2006) “The 2003 guidelines on the use of minority languages in the broadcast media and the Council of Europe standards: need to enhance co-operation and synergy with the OSCE”
- Recommendation 1768 (2006) “The image of asylum seekers, migrants and refugees in the media”
- Resolution 1510 (2006) “Freedom of expression and respect for religious beliefs”
- Recommendation 1706 (2005) “Media and terrorism”
- Resolution 1438 and Recommendation 1702 (2005) “Freedom of the press and the working conditions of journalists in conflict zones”
- Resolution 1387 (2004) “Monopolisation of the electronic media and possible abuse of power in Italy”
- Recommendation 1641 (2004) “Public service broadcasting”
- Recommendation 1589 (2003) “Freedom of expression in the media in Europe”
- Resolution 1313 (2003) “Cultural co-operation between Europe and the south Mediterranean countries”
- Recommendation 1586 (2002) “The digital divide and education”
- Recommendation 1555 (2002) “The image of women in the media”
- Recommendation 1543 (2001) “Racism and xenophobia in cyberspace”
- Recommendation 1506 (2001) “Freedom of expression and information in the media in Europe“
- Recommendation 1466 (2000) “Media education”
- Recommendation 1407 (1999) “Media and democratic culture”
- Resolution 1191 (1999) “The information society and a digital world”
- Resolution 1165 (1998) “The right to privacy”
- Resolution 1142 (1997) “Parliaments and the media”
- Recommendation 1332 (1997) “The scientific and technical aspects of the new information and communications technologies”
- Resolution 1120 (1997) “The impact of the new communication and information technologies on democracy”
- Recommendation 1314 (1997) “New technologies and employment”
- Recommendation 1277 (1995) “Migrants, ethnic minorities and media”
- Recommendation 1276 (1995) “The power of the visual image”
- Recommendation 1265 (1995) “Enlargement and European cultural co-operation”
- Recommendation 1228 (1994) “Cable networks and local television stations: their importance for Greater Europe”
- Recommendation 1216 (1993) “European cultural co-operation”
- Resolution 1003 and Recommendation 1215 (1993) “The ethics of journalism”
- Recommendation 1147 (1991) “Parliamentary responsibility for the democratic reform of broadcasting”
- Resolution 957 (1991) “The situation of local radio in Europe”
- Resolution 956 (1991) “Transfer of technology to countries of Central and Eastern Europe“
- Recommendation 1136 (1990) “A European policy on alcohol”
- Recommendation 1122 (1990) “The revival of the countryside by means of information technology”
- Resolution 937 (1990) “Telecommunications: the implications for Europe”
- Recommendation 1110 (1989) “Distance teaching”
- Recommendation 1098 (1989) “East-West audiovisual co-operation”
- Recommendation 1096 (1989) “European Convention on Transfrontier Television”
- Recommendation 1077 (1988) “Access to transfrontier audiovisual media during election campaigns”
- Recommendation 1067 (1987) “The cultural dimension of broadcasting in Europe”
- Recommendation 1059 (1987) “The economics of culture”
- Recommendation 1047 (1986) “The dangers of boxing”
- Recommendation 1043 (1986) “Europe’s linguistic and literary heritage”
- Recommendation 1037 (1986) “Data protection and freedom of information”
- Resolution 848 (1985) “Privacy of sound and individual freedom of musical choice”
- Recommendation 1011 (1985) “The situation of professional dance in Europe”
- Recommendation 996 (1984) “Council of Europe work relating to the media”
- Resolution 820 (1984) “Relations of national parliaments with the media”
- Recommendation 963 (1983) “Cultural and educational means of reducing violence”
- Recommendation 952 (1982) “International means to protect freedom of expression by regulating commercial advertising”
- Recommendation 926 (1981) “Questions raised by cable and television and by direct satellite broadcasts”
- Recommendation 862 (1979) “Cinema and the state”
- Recommendation 834 (1978) “Threats to the freedom of the press and television”
- Recommendation 815 (1977) “Freedom of expression and the role of the writer in Europe”
- Recommendation 749 (1975) “European broadcasting”
- Recommendation 748 (1975) “The role and management of national broadcasting”
- Recommendation 747 (1975) “Press concentrations”
- Recommendation 582 (1970) “Mass communication media and human rights”
- Resolution 428 (1970) “Declaration on mass communication media and human rights”
Council of Europe Conferences of Specialised Ministers
1st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and New Communication Services
(28 and 29 May 2009, Reykjavik, Iceland)
A new notion of media?
7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy
(Kyiv, Ukraine, 10 and 11 March 2005)
Integration and diversity: the new frontiers of European media and communication policy
6th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy
(Cracow, Poland, 15 and 16 June 2000)
A media policy for tomorrow
5th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy
(Thessaloníki, Greece, 11 and 12 December 1997)
The Information Society: a challenge for Europe
4th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy
(Prague, Czech Republic, 7 and 8 December 1994)
The media in a democratic society
3rd European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy
(Nicosia, Cyprus, 9 and 10 October 1991)
Which way forward for Europe’s media in the 1990s?
2nd European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy
(Stockholm, Sweden, 23 and 24 November 1988)
European Mass Media Policy in an international context
1st European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy
(Vienna, Austria, 9 and 10 December 1986)
The future of television in Europe