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IRIS 2018-4:1/4

Committee of Ministers

Consultation on priority areas for the protection of journalism and safety of journalists

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Bojana Kostić

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 19 February 2018, the Council of Europe issued a call for submissions on the implementation of the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4 on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors (see IRIS 2016-1/3). It is stated that recent murders of journalists in Council of Europe states demonstrate the urgent need for redoubled action in the implementation of the 2016 Recommendation, and it is therefore necessary to initiate a more systematic implementation of the 2016 Recommendation. In this regard a detailed questionnaire on the 2016 Recommendation was released, calling for journalists, journalist associations and civil society members to evaluate the threats to media freedoms and propose the topics/areas that should be given priority implementation at this stage.

The questionnaire is based on the 2016 Recommendation, which includes detailed guidelines for the member states covering the four specific areas: prevention, protection, promotion of information and awareness-raising. On the basis of these four pillars and with the aim of achieving more systematic implementation of the Recommendation, the questionnaire will help determine the Council of Europe’s priority implementation areas at this stage. The questionnaire consists of four parts and a number of indicators, each rated from 1 to 10, depending on the urgency of the subject matter. The first pillar is prevention, and concerns the legislative framework protecting journalism and journalists. The second pillar concerns protection through law enforcement machinery and redress mechanisms. The third pillar concerns prosecution, and how investigations must be effective (that is to say, capable of leading to the establishment of the facts and the identification and, if appropriate, the punishment of those responsible. The final pillar concerns the promotion of information, education and awareness-raising. The questionnaire recognises that some of the topics are interrelated and require coordinated action, so the respondents are asked to indicate the topics that should be addressed together. In addition, where relevant, the respondent may provide more detailed information concerning the specific risks and potential mitigating measures. The Council of Europe states that it is continuously working on the implementation of the 2016 Recommendation by supporting national authorities through cooperation assistance activities and by providing responses to challenges to media freedom and the safety of journalists. The implementation strategy will be applied in a few priority areas as a first step.

References
Questionnaire on Recommendation on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors, 19 February 2018 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=18996
 
Questionnaire on Priority areas for the implementation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4 on the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists and other Media Actors, 19 February 2018 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=18972