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IRIS 2017-9:1/3

Committee of Ministers

Reply to the Parliamentary Assembly’s Recommendation on attacks against journalists and media freedom in Europe

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Bojana Kostić

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 7 September 2017, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted its Reply to Recommendation 2097 (2017) of the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) entitled, “Attacks against journalists and media freedom in Europe” (see IRIS 2017-3/3).  

The Committee of Ministers’ Reply notes that the protection of journalists and media independence are cornerstones of democratic society and invites member States to ensure the well-functioning of the Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists through voluntary contributions. The Platform facilitates the compilation by certain Partner Organisations of alerts on media freedoms and the safety of journalists (see IRIS 2017-2/2). Furthermore, the Committee of Ministers’ Reply emphasised that “the added value of the Platform, as opposed to other Internet platforms mapping media violations, is that it is set up and operates within the framework of an intergovernmental organisation.” Notably, the Committee of Ministers’ Reply recalls that almost half of the member States do not satisfactorily guarantee the protection of journalists from violence and threats.

Moreover, in its Reply, the Committee of Ministers referred to the PACE Recommendation to allocate adequate financial resources for the functioning of the Platform, by noting that in addition to funding from the ordinary budget, the member States have also made voluntary contributions. In line with the PACE Recommendation, it called for committed engagement and follow-up activities by the member States in respect of the cases reported on the Platform.

Lastly, on the basis of the PACE Recommendation, the Committee of Ministers welcomed the PACE proposal, stating that it will give “serious consideration to the Assembly’s proposal for a thematic debate” concerning the serious threats to media freedom in conflict zones and in the member States that are under a state of emergency.

The Committee of Ministers has now transmitted the PACE Recommendation to the Steering Committee on the Media and Information Society (CDMSI) for information and possible comment.

Committee of Ministers Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Reply to “Attacks against journalists and media freedom in Europe” - Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2097 (2017), Doc. CM/AS(2017)Rec2097 final, 7 September 2017 EN