2009 activities of the Council of Europe in the media sector
The ministers of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe responsible for the media and new communication services, together with experts and representatives of civil society, young people and the world of business met in Reykjavik on 28 and 29 May 2009 to evaluate the social, cultural and technological upheavals which have occurred in the media and communication sectors and to debate the challenges posed by the new media and related services, such as search engines, blogs, social networks or internet service providers through to freedom of expression.
One tangible result of this important ministerial meeting held under the banner of the general theme "A new notion of media?" was the adoption of an overall policy declaration and a resolution entitled "Towards a new notion of media?" associated with an action plan, a resolution on internet governance and sensitive resources on the internet, as well as a resolution on developments in relation to legislation against terrorism in the member states of the Council of Europe and their impact on freedom of expression and information.
On 11 February, the Committee of Ministers adopted the Declaration on the role of the associative media in promoting social cohesion and intercultural dialogue. The role played by associative broadcasters by facilitating access by under-represented or marginalised population groups to information and means of expression, and their participation in decision-making processes, is thus underlined.
On 8 July 2009 it adopted the Recommendation intended to protect children from harmful content and behaviour and to promote their active participation in the new information and communication environment. It is a question of ensuring a coherent level of protection for minors from harmful content and to develop the capabilities of children in relation to media education.
The parliamentary Assembly adopted the Recommendation on regulation of audiovisual services and media on 27 January 2009, the Recommendation on financing public service broadcasting on 25 June 2009 and the Recommendation on the promotion of online and internet media services adapted to minors on 28 September 2009.
The Swiss representative played an active part in advancing the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDig), organised jointly by the European Broadcasting Union and the Federal Office of Communications (Switzerland) with the support of the Council of Europe, which took place in Geneva on 14 and 15 September 2009 and which welcomed over 200 representatives from industry, governments, parliaments and civil society. EuroDIG welcomed the proposal that the Council of Europe should, subject to approval by its executive bodies, provide its secretariat in order to ensure EuroDIG's continuity.
EuroDig's debates served to prepare the European contributions to the Internet Governance Forum which was held from 15 to 18 November 2009 at Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt). On this occasion, the Council of Europe pronounced itself in favour of strengthening protection of and respect for human rights, the supremacy of the rule of law and democracy on the internet. The Secretariat of the Council of Europe and the invited experts took part in seven events organised or jointly organised by the Council and acted as moderators in some thirteen workshops held by other bodies. The Council of Europe also organised an open forum during which debates took place on the relationships between freedom of expression and the management of critical internet resources and on the associated aspects of international law. The Swiss representatives made a very considerable contribution to these events.