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IRIS 2018-3:1/5

Committee of Ministers

Reply to the Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation on “Political influence over independent media and journalists”

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Bengi Zeybek

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 10 January 2018, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe issued its Reply to the Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2111 (2017) on “Political influence over independent media and journalists” (see IRIS 2017-8/4). The Reply essentially addresses the independence of the public service media and the recommendations made to the Committee of Ministers by the Parliamentary Assembly.

Having regard to the concerns expressed by the Assembly on the deteriorating situation regarding the independence of journalists, the Committee of Ministers recognises the need for an improvement in Member States’ co-operation and action in tackling serious threats to media freedom. Within this context, the Committee recommends the governments of Members States to implement its Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4 on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors (see IRIS 2016-5/3).

With respect to the lack of proper guarantee of public service media underlined by the Assembly, the Committee of Ministers notes, in particular, the concerns raised in the Secretary General’s report “State of democracy, human rights and the rule of law” regarding the interference of governments in the appointment and dismissal procedures of members of public-service media boards in the year 2016.

In reply to the Assembly’s recommendation under paragraph 5.2.1, the Committee of Ministers supports the Assembly’s proposal to develop the principles laid down in its Recommendation on public service media governance CM/Rec(2012)1 in operational terms (see IRIS 2012-3/2). The development of the principles in operational terms in a context-specific manner and their tailor-made application are warranted, given the limitations on the harmonisation of legislation and the development of model provisions among the forty-seven Member States. The Committee of Ministers informs the Assembly that, for the 2018-2019 biennium, this work will be carried out by the CDMSI (Steering Committee on Media and Information Society) on implementation activities in relation to that recommendation.

Regarding the Assembly’s recommendation in paragraph 5.2.2., regarding the design and implementation of targeted cooperation programmes aiming at promoting good practice in the governance of public service media, the Committee of Ministers notes that around twenty projects on promoting media freedom have been implemented in Member States and partner countries.

Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Reply to “Political influence over independent media and journalists” Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2111 (2017), 10 January 2018 EN