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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Human Rights Commissioner Mijatovic to EF on Journalism Safety: PACE Extends to All Media Actors

CoE Human Rights Commissioner Mijatovic to EF on Journalism Safety: PACE Extends to All Media Actors

Pisac ACM
25. 04. 2018.
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking to "Eurofora", the New CoE's PanEuropean Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović (2018 - 2024), announced that she would "Follow" closely CoE Assembly's Debate on the "Status of Journalists in Europe", Today in Strasbourg.


- The main Reason is "because I Intend to Work, particularly, on the Safety of Journalists", i.e. a Topical Issue, which has a Special Importance Nowadays, and that CoE's PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly wants to Extend to All "Medias' Actors".


This became Clear when MEPs Voted to adopt 2 Amendments to a Report on the "Status of Journalists in Europe", which, in Addition to Traditional Journalists, Extended its Scope also to "Other Medias Actors".


Mijatovic has a Good Personal Experience of the Issues of Press Freedom and Journalists' Safety, etc., since this area was her proper Area of Action for Years Before, as former OSCE's High Representative on Free Speech for a Long Period, during which she met with "Eurofora", and gave us various Replies to our Questions on several Topical Issues, (as, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/oscemediafreedomrepresentativeonwebnewsactors.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/unrappporteuronfreespeechandechrjudgementsexecution.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coepressfreedominturkey.html, etc).  

 

 -  Even if there is a "Need to Find a very Thin Line" in that matter, (about which Media Workers should be included), nevertheless, particularly when there are People who even Take Risks in order to dare Investigate and reveal some thorny Truths of General Interest to the Society (as we had evoked), - "It's Absolutely Out of Question that they should Not be Protected !", Mijatovic had earlier told us, in this regard. + And "They should Also be given Access to Public Events", she had added, when she still was in charge of Press Freedom at the OSCE (See:
http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/oscemediafreedomrepresentativeonwebnewsactors.html).

 

- New CoE's Human Rights' Commissioner's Focus on the "Safety of Journalists", in her Statement to "Eurofora" Today, (Comp. Supra), obviously refers also to COE's  Highest Political Body, its Committee of Ministers' Recommendation of 2016 (4) on "the Safety of Journalists and Other Media Actors", that Member States were explicity called to "Implement", with an Amendment adopted now by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly.

 

According to that CoE's CM Recommendation, "Ongoing Technological Developments have Transformed the Traditional Media environment, ... leading to New conceptions of Media". In particular, "UN Human Rights Committee has ... stated that “Journalism is a Function Shared by a Wide range of Actors, including ...(those) who Engage in forms of Self-Publication ...on the Internet". The UN General Assembly has also acknowledged that “Journalism is continuously Evolving, to include inputs from Media institutions, private Individuals and a range of Organisations that Seek, Receive and Impart information and Ideas ..., OnLine, as well as offline … thereby contributing to Shape Public Debate” in a Democratic Society. According to the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, “the Protection of Journalists ...should Cover Others ... who may be using New Media, as a means of reaching their audiences”.


Indeed, CoE Assembly also Adopted, Today, Unanimously, anOther Amendment, which Urges Member States to "fully implement their Obligations stemming from Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, as regards ...Media Actors' Freedom of Expression, and in particular their Right Not to reveal Journalistic Sources, and their Right to Receive or Impart Information".


As CoE Assembly's Legal and Human Rights Committee has already Stressed, in its Written "Opinion", concerning "the Definition of Journalist", "References ... to Protection of Freedom of Expression, including Protection of Sources, and Prevention of Impunity for Threats and Reprisals, should take a Wider ...Aproach, reflecting Contemporary Realities in how Infiormation, Analysis and Comment are Generated and Publicly Shared", (as CoE's Committee of Ministers, and UNO's Human Rights Committee, among others", have "Already" done : Comp. Supra).


+ By a Timely Coincidence, Today's Move was Combined also with the Official Announcement of mainstream ChristianDemocrat MEP Peter Omzigt's nomination by CoE's Assembly as Rapporteur for the Investigation of the Recent Brutal Murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Dissident and Critical, as well as Investigative Journalist, particularly on Anti-Corruption Issues related to Top Politicians in Malta, where her Car Exploded by a Bomb triggered near her Family Home, (See "Eurofora"s 1st NewsReport on that case, at: ...).


The Victim's Sons had told "Eurofora" that, in Fact, Daphne's former Traditional Media, a Weekly Newspaper, did Not Allow her to really use her Freedom of Expression, since Most or All of her most Critical Draft Papers were Censored or Otherwise Hindered to be Published, Because some Government Agents exerted Heavy Pressure on her former Employers to Skip her Criticism, (f.ex. through the Allocation or Refusal of Paid Government Publicity, Adds, etc). So that she had been practicaly Obliged to Set up her own, Independent, Web-News Media, from which she was Able and Free to Write and Publish whatever she wanted, and whenever she wanted. It was her Sharply Critical, and Independent Investigative Web Media which had, obviously, attracted the Hostility of those who Slyly Murdered her. (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/wejournalistmurder.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euparliamentpresidentoncoeandjournalistmurder.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/daphnewebjournalistmurderenquiry.html , etc).


Already, Earlier, the Experienced former Long-Time UNESCO's Director General, and f. Foreign Minister, Irina Bocova, had Issued a Press Release with a Strong Denunciation of the Murder of Miranda Do Carmo, a former Employee in a Brazilian Municipality, who had Created a Local News Website, when he had been Oblighed to Resign from his former Job, and Started to Investigate and Criticize the Management of the New Team, particularly on Issues of alleged Corruption or Other Abus, apparently also in view of the forthcoming Local Elections, where he might have participated as a possible Candidate, (Comp., f.ex., at http://www.eurofora.net/brief/brief/webeditorkilled.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/unescoheadslamswebeditorsmurderasksjournalismprotection.html , etc).

 

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=> Such WebNews Publishers, who "are an Essential Source of Independent Reporting and Comment", are "Crucial for the preservation of Political and cultural Pluralism", so that "we (CoE) should Expand the Definition of Journalism, to Include certain Categories" of such Websites, urged, the vice-President of the Socialist and Green Group, Icelandish MEP Sunna Aevarsdottir, speaking on behalf of CoE Assembly's Legal and Human Rights Committee.


- "Protecting our Democraties through Critical Reporting and acting as a Defence against Corruption of Power", is a "Role" which "should not be underestimated", since "Freedom of Expression underlies All aspects of a Free Society", she stressed, as far as "the Role and the Status of Journalists" is concerned.

 

not_trustyworthy_traditional_media_commercial_or_political_bias_polls__coe_rapporteurs_side_400


+ At the Same Time, "57% of EU Citizens" believe that the Traditional "Media are subjected to Commercial or Political Pressures", (and 60% that Public Service Traditional Medias face Political Pressure), showing that the Popular "Trust of Medias is seriously Affected", as the 2017 EuroBaremeter Poll revealed, (and equivalent USA Polls could probably show an even Bigger Popular Rejection of Establishment's Medias), pointed out, on behalf of PACE's Culture, Science and Médias Committee, the President of the "Free Democrats" Group, Italian MEP Adele Gambaro, who was finally chosen to Replace Both Rapporteurs of the "Status of Journalists" and "Editorial Integrity" Reports, whose Authors were Hindered to do so, (Comp.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/changeincoemediadebate.html).


---------------------------


Indeed, "as a Result of Technological Progres, and of the Development of On-Line Media, the profession of Journalist is currently undergoing Major Changes", stresses from the outset the Official "Summary" of CoE's Report on "the Status of Journalists in Europe".


Inter alia, after "the Collapse of Traditional Funding models, (and) Competition from New Media", (etc), CoE's "Member States should ReView the National Legislation on the Status of Journalists"', and "Explore Alternative Sources of Funding, attuned to the New Media EcoSystem".


On this Last Point, Participants to PACE's Debate cited, f.ex., the possibility to Seek Remuneration for Producing Web Content by Sharing the Revenues of Internet Research Websites, (f.ex. such as "Google", "Bing", etc).


--------------


During the Debates, among others, f.ex. the Representative of the Conservative Group of MEPs Warned Against a perceived Attempt by some, inside PACE's Culture and Science Committee, "to Control the Press", Urging, on the Contrary, to better Respect the "Press Freedom".


+ In Addition, the Representative of PACE's Legal and Human Rights' Ciommittee, repeatedly Denounced also another Strange Trend by some inside the Culure/Science Committee, to Restrict the Legal Definition of Journalism, along Older and Out-Dated Models, instead of adequately Enlarging it, according to New Realities.


Indeed, even Corporatist "Trade Unions and Journalists' Associations", etc., are "Called", by the Resolution Adopted Today by CoE's Assembly (PACE), to "Adjust to rapid Societal Changes, including with regard to the Status of Journalists, which should be Adaptable, as its ESSENCE LIES IN THE TASK".


=> Already, for CoE's Committee of Ministers (Recommendation No R (2000) 7), "the Term <<Journalist>> means any ...Person who is Regularly ...Engaged in the Collection and Dissemination of Information to the Public, via any means of Mass Communication", the Report Adopted Today (25 April 2018) by the PACE observes.

 

>>> From All this, Obviously Results also the Fact that "the Status of Journalist is Not Linked to the possession of any kind of "Press Card", which is Not Obligatory at all, and has Nothing to dop with the Definition of Journalism", as even the Representative of CoE Assesmbly's Committee for Culture, Science and Medias, Mrs Gambaro (President of FDGroup) pointed out.


- "In Germany, f.ex., the Definition of Journalist derives Directly from Article 5 of the Constitution, which SafeGuards Freedom of Thought, of Expression, and of the Press, and Prohibits Censorship". So that, "Journalists in Germany do Not have to undergo Formal or Mandatory Procedures. The Profession is Open to Everyone, with No Training or Selection Requirements. German Journalists ...have Always been Opposed to a Binding or Regulatory Legal Definition, Fearing that ... the Political Authorities ...would Restrict their Freedoms", CoE Assembly's Report observes.


- According to "the German Association of Journalists", ... a Journalist "Must be Involved in the Production and Dissemination of News, Opinions, and Entertainement, via the Media, by means of Written Articles and Reports, Pictures or Sounds, or a Combination of them".


- On the Contrary, the particular "Situation in Italy is Unique in Europe, if not in the Entire World", CoE's Report points out : Indeed, Journalism, there, "is Governed by the Italian <<Order of Journalists>> ("Ordine dei Giornalisti") - apparently a residue of Mussolini's notorious "Corporatism" from the era of Fascism of the Past- "which issues Press Cards, and has a Disciplinary Board" (sic !), while the Italian "Law Requires that Journalists must be Registered with the ODG as professionals", with "Requirements with refard to Age, Length of Practice and Training", (etc)...


>>> Opposite to that, the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights has clearly Rejected such Restrictions as illegal, in 2 extensive Decisions already Published as Early as since ... 1985 ! (See : .....)


----------------------------------------


Last, but not least, this Report of April 2018, after Attesting the Fact that, Still, "the Printed Press is populated, almost Exclusively, by Privately-Owned Media", "whereas the (Traditional) AudioVisual sector operates a system where Commercial and Public Services function alongside one another", inevitably also observes that "the Adven of a fully Digital Environment is Radically Transforming the Nature of News Work".


But, at least as Funding is concerned, it doesn't go further than to merely propose f.ex. to "Institutionalise CrowdFunding, ...by Giving Decision-Making Power to Donors (sic !) providing More than 1% of registered Capital", i.e. an "Hybrid Model, somewhat Between Foundations and Joint-Stock Companies"...  I.e. something "Ideal" in order to Hinder any Media from being Accredited as "Independent Press", since "Donations" are Notoriously considered as InCombatible !


>>> Most Worrying, several Observers pointed out the Fact that this Report, drafted by Socialist former MEP Ms Elvira Drobinski-Weiss from Germany, (who was Not Re-Elected by the German People in tha Latest 2017 National Elections to the Bundestag), and Presented by PACE's Culture/Science/Education Committee, (instead of its Legal/Human Rights Committee, more appropriate as far as Freedom of Expression and Democrartic Pluralism are concerned), was repeatedly Criticized, during CoE's Debates, particularly for "Restricting" the Definition of Journalism, and even for Seeking to Impose a "Control" over Medias Activities...

When it states that "the Lack of Legal Definition of the notion of Journalist should Not be a DisAdvantage in itself, as long as there is a Free and Non-Discriminatory Access to Information", it might be true. But,  Immediately afterwards, it Starts Pleading for "a Legal Definition of Journalists", mainly in order to "draw a clear Distinction" with what it calls ..."a Blogger" (sic !).


=> However, a Crystal-Clear and Modern Definition of real and substantial Journalism EXISTS, already since ... 1985 !


>>> Indeed, the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights, has already Designated as Press Medias and/or Journalist the Person who is Committed  and Engaged into Regularly Searching, Producing and Publishing Original News Articles on Issues of General Interest to the Society, (See IBID).


+ More or Less Similar Definitions have been used also by CoE's Committee of Ministers, (already since 2000, but also on 2016, 2017, etc), UNO's Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly, etc., while this also, obviously, Fits even ECHR's Long-Standing case-Law on Article 10, about Freedom of Expression, (which is the Only Legal Protection for all Medias).


In other Words, (as this Report itself said above) : "The Essential is in the Task !"  (Comp. Supra).


+ The World-Famous, Long-Time former Secretary General of the European and International Federation of Journalists, Aidan White, tried to usefully Develop an Idea that we had Discussed with him at the CoE a Long Time ago, by Adding also a Dimension concerning Ethics or Deontology of Journalism, that "Eurofora" naturally Supports (Comp. Supra on this Website). His "Ethical Journalism" Network, and a Landmark Article published at a CoE's collective Book, which suggests an Innovative Solution concerning also pure, Autonomous, Digital Public Writers (or "Publicists", as Americans say, See: ...), obviously advance towards an Interesting Direction.


=> All this allows to Easily Distinguish between, f.ex., Occasional, Non-Creative, and/or UnEthical or Irresponsible, Private "Bloggers", "Copy-Paste" Websites, etc., from one side, and, from aNother side, those individuals or groups who don't have, in fact, Nothing Else to show than, just a ..."Card" given by a Shady Corporatist/Bureaucratic "Committee", (Comp. Supra), and/or the Strictly ... Fiscal, or Tax-Law related Pseudo-"Definition" of which some Scandalously and, in fact, illegaly, still Abuse in France (since it can be Contrary to ECHR's Case-Law !), about a mere ...Payroll or Checkpay, (i.e. the Majority of Revenues, which is a Purely "Fiscal Realism" Pseudo-"Definition", that has Nothing to do with the Substance of Real Journalistic Production, (since, obviously, Anybody might, eventually be Paid by a Businessman and/or a Politician controlling a Traditional Media outlet, withOut really doing any, or too Little of real Journalistic Creative Work : already there are Many known Cases)...


As for that Hypocritic ... "Neutrality" : Is it in order to Exclude f.ex. ... Emile Zola's World-Famous - "J'Accuse !" Article, shortly After the Publication of which he was, apparently, Murdered, Together with his Wife, by Blocking the Ventilation of his Family Home (as it was reportedly revealed only on 1953) ?...


>>> Or, will anyone Dare Claim that even ...Daphne, who was Brutaly Murdered on 2017 for what she wrote and Published in her own, personal WebNews Site, (Comp. Supra), might have been a mere ... "Blogger", and Not a real "Journalist" ?!...


Her Murderers, apparently, knew very well how to Distinguish a Real Investigative and Critical Journalist, from a Routine, Lazy and Selfish 
Cashy Job Holder, who has Nothing to do what is Best in Real Journalism !                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


--------------------------------------


So, what really Happened, with a Strange, Last-Minute "Coup" on Amendements, at this CoE Assembly's Report, later Today Afternoon, looks really Fishy !


- While all had been Prepared, since Days, Weeks, perhaps Months ago, in order for CoE's Assemby to Vote a Resolution asking its Member Strates to Seek a Modern, New and adequately Enlarged, UpDated Legal Definition of Nowadays Journalism;


(F.ex. with Amendement 6, Tabled by the Legal/Human Rights Committee, Urging CoE's Member States to "provide a Legal Definition of Journalism, Wide Enough to encompass All Forms of Contemporary Journalistic Work, including Internet-based"),


Suddenly, the Already Distributed (since Tuesday Late Afternoon) CoE's Official "Compendiums of Amendments" for this Report on "the Status of Journalism", were, Curiously .... Withdrawn, (without anny previous Warning), and, Next Morning, the so-called "Final" Compendium was Replaced by a ..."REVISED" Compendium, which did Not Add Nothing Else than, just one (1) World : ..."Professional" (sic) !


This was the Only Way that a Last-Minute chosen Representative of the Cultural Committee "could" tell if he/she was in front of a Journalistic Work, or not... Curiously, this was Accepted by a Representative of the Legal Affairs Committee (contrary to what she had supported until now !), withOut Any Explanation at all, for that Last-Minute imposed Changte)...


and was Briefly Adopted by a Small Minority of some ...70 Only MEPs, out of the More than + 300 MEPs that CoE Assembly has  !   
 
Thus, all those CoE's previous "Concerns" about  "Pressure" on Journalists by "Commercialy owned" and/or "Politically controled" Medias, (Comp. Supra), suddenly... Vanished...

=> Given all these Facts, apparently, all those MEPs who had Previously Warned Against alleged Attempts to "Restrict" and/or "Control" real and active Journalism, by some Authors of that Report, (who, finally, were even .. Absent Today : Comp. Supra), after all, might have been, perhaps, Justified ?

 

And, by the way, is it really "Safe" to let just the ... "Swedish Democrats" get the Monopole of a crystal-clear "No !" to such a Controversial move, shortly before the forthcoming Elections, (as it was really the case Today) ?.. 

 

(.../...)


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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
-------------------------
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

Polls

2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?

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