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IRIS 2006-2:4/3

Committee of Ministers

Media-specific Provisions in New Resolutions on Minorities

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Tarlach McGonagle

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

A number of provisions concerning the (audiovisual) media can be found in the five country-specific Resolutions adopted to date by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers (CM) in the context of the Second Monitoring Cycle of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM).

In respect of Croatia, the CM recommends that the State authorities inter alia “encourage media engagement in the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue”.

In respect of Denmark, the CM identifies as an issue of concern a “seam of intolerance within Danish society […] inter alia, in the political arena as well as in certain media”. It also notes that there are “few possibilities for the use of German in Danish television or radio broadcasting, […]”. In order to redress this situation, it recommends that the Danish authorities “[E]xamine how further support can be provided to local radio and television broadcasting for the German minority”. It also recommends that “manifestations of intolerance and xenophobia” be acted upon and countered “with the tools available”.

Among the positive developments in Hungary since the first cycle of monitoring of the FCNM, the CM cites endeavours by the Hungarian authorities “to facilitate the extension of radio and television programmes intended for minorities”. Nevertheless, the CM continues to regard the issue as one of concern, observing that the “programme slots for television broadcasts intended for minorities have raised objections for several years from those concerned and a recent change in programming could render them even less favourable”. It stops short of making a specific recommendation on this point, however.

In respect of Liechtenstein, the CM does not make any comments or recommendations relating specifically to the (audiovisual) media.

As regards issues of concern implicating the media in Moldova, the CM notes the following:

“National minority cultures and traditions are still insufficiently reflected in schools and media coverage of diversity and ethnic relations remains generally unsatisfactory. Moreover, the measures taken to ensure a more balanced use of the various minority languages in schools, in the media and in relations with administrative authorities have not produced the intended results, although there have been some positive developments. Certain minority languages are not sufficiently used in these areas.

Concerning tolerance and intercultural dialogue, shortcomings remain, in particular as regards attitudes reported within Moldovan society, including the police and the media, to the Roma and non-traditional religious communities.”

Its recommendations to the Moldovan authorities for dealing with these issues of concern include:

“- Respond more adequately to the cultural needs of persons belonging to national minorities;

- Continue efforts to combat discrimination and promote tolerance and intercultural dialogue, through more effective monitoring and law enforcement in these areas and take further awareness-raising measures , addressed inter alia to the police and the media;

- Continue efforts to secure a more balanced use of minority languages in fields such as education, media and relations with the administrative authorities;”

The implementation of the FCNM by States Parties is monitored by the CM and the Advisory Committee on the FCNM. A system of periodic State reporting forms the basis of the monitoring process. The Opinions adopted by the Advisory Committee are, by their nature, much more detailed than the subsequent Resolutions adopted by the CM.

References
Resolution ResCMN(2005)5 on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Croatia, 28 September 2005 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=8778
 
Resolution ResCMN(2005)9 on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Denmark, 14 December 2005 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=8778
 
Resolution ResCMN(2005)10 on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Hungary, 14 December 2005 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=8778
 
Resolution ResCMN(2005)7 on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Liechtenstein, 7 December 2005 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=8778
 
Resolution ResCMN(2005)8 on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Moldova, 7 December 2005 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=8778