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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Legal-Human Rights G.Director Giakoumopoulos to EF: New Definition of Journalism in Digital Era?

CoE Legal-Human Rights G.Director Giakoumopoulos to EF: New Definition of Journalism in Digital Era?

Written by ACM
Friday, 11 June 2021

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     *Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Replying to a Question by "Eurofora" (which was Invited in the Video-Press Conference on the Conclusions of a key CoE's Ministerial Meeting on "Freedom of Medias and Digital Technologies", co-organized by the Pan-European Organisation and Cyprus' Government, with the participation of President Nicos Anastasiades, welcomed by CoE's Head Marija Buric), the Experienced CoE's General Director on Legal and Human Rights' affairs, Christos Giakoumopoulos, did Not Exclude, but apparently considered even as a Probable and Imminent Development, the official Recognition of a New Definition of Journalism at Nowadays' Era of Internet.

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During that 2 Days-long Video-Conference (10 + 11 June 2021), 45 Ministers from Various CoE's Member Countries, 307 Participants, and more than 600 Observers, were gathered together around Topical Speeches and Debates Resulting in 5 Resolutions on Specific aspects, ("Freedom of Expression", "Safety of Journalists", "Changing Medias and Information Environment", "Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic"), and a "Final" Synthesis with a "2021 Declaration of Nicosia", as announced the Head of the Organisers, Cyprus' Minister of Interior, in charge of Medias, Nikos Nouris, who Opened CoE"s Press Conference this Afternoon, with CoE's Experienced Press Officer Jaime Rodriguez, from Spain and the UK. Among the various High Profile Participants to this CoE's Ministerial Conference, were also CoE's Secretary General, Marija Buric, from Croatia, (2019-2024, together with Cyprus' President : Comp. Supra), the Chairman-in-office of CoE's Highest Political Body: its Committee of Ministers, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto (May-November 2021), EU-Commission's vice-President Vera Jourova, CoE's Human Rights' Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights' Director Michael O'Flaherty, President of PACE Rik Daems, UNESCO Director General Audrey Azouley, OSCE's  Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeira, UNO's Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression Irene Khan, Agnes Callamard : Secretary General of "Amnesty International", and many others.

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- What is at Stake are Both Huge "Challenges and Opportunities for Media and Democracy", since "Technological Advancements in the Last 3 Decades ...have Resulted in UnPrecedented Political, Economic and Cultural Globalisation and Connectivity", where "Everything is Happening at Lightning Speed" : "On the one hand", it "may Enable Broader, Quicker, and more Targeted Means of Sharing Information and Ideas Globally", while, "on the Other Hand", it "may Also Interfere with the ...Development of Opinions, Access to Information, and Other Fundamental aspects of Individual Autonomy", stressed the Co-Organizer, Cyprus' President, Nicos Anastasiades, right from the outset.

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    + Welcoming him and the Participants, CoE's Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic-Buric, a former vice-Prime Minister, from Croatia, observed, inter alia, also that, "from machine-written News based on Algorithms, to Automatic Moderation of content, Never Before has Atificial Intelligence been so present, withOut us even realising it. Never before could we access so Many sources of information so Quickly, withOut being certain which ones are Authentic".

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 ++ Chairman-in-office of CoE's Committee of Ministets, Hungarian, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, (May-November 2021), stressed the "Need for a Legal Instrument", in order "Not to be Governed by Individuals withOut any Democratic Mandate", and "Prevent Big Tech. Companies from Deciding What is, or is Not, to be Published", even Against Elected Politicians, instead of respecting Freedom of Speach and Universal Values, as he said, Obviously refering to recent "Hot" Conflicts in the USA, etc. For this purpose, we Invited Already our Collegue Ministers to prepare a Legal Recommendation, Starting from the Next Ministerial Session of 2022, (11/2021-5/2022),but preceded by a High-Level relevant Conference on October 2021, as he Announced.

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    - "Some of the Participants, as well as Other Relevant Actors, (in the Recent Past), have evoked a Possibility that the CoE eventualy Recognizes a New Definition of Journalism, Specific and Adequate to the Digital Environment, Both for Protection, for Freedom reasons, and Also for Deontology reasons", "Eurofora" observed in a Question to the Concluding CoE's Video-Press Conference.

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    + In this regard, f.ex., "we know that Even Daphne (Caruana Galicia), who was Murdered, had been Slandered as "Blogger" (sic !), while she had been a Professional Journalist for Decades, and, Afterwards, (when she was Obliged to Focus on her own News-Website, because her Mainstream Newspaper was Censoring Critical Articles, as her Family told "Eurofora"), she was Publishing All the Time", (i.e., she had Dedicated hershelf into Finding, Writting, and Publishing Original News of General Interest for the Society, Regularly : See Infra). ++ "On the Contrary, it's Even the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which has taken 2 (Plenary) Decisions, (already as Early as Since 1985 : i.e. at the prelude of Internet), that give a New Definition. What do you think about that ? Woud it be Useful ?", we asked.

    - "And a last Question, a very Fast one : Congratulations to everybody involved in the Organisation of this (Ministerial+) Video-Meeting. But After the Pandemic, don't You think that it would be Useful to Continue also with Digital Meetings ?", "Eurofora" Questioned for the Future.

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    - "Precisely, Because This is one of the Issues that the Conference has Adressed, and it is an Issue that the CoE and its Member States will Continue to be looking into, also in the Near Future", observed from the outset, CoE's Director General on Rule of Law and Human Rights, Christos Giakoumopoulos, on our 1st Question.

    - "Let me just say, that the European Convention of Human Rights, as such, (i.e. in its) Article 10, does Not make a Distinction, between (so-called) "Journalists and Non-Journalists" (Stricto Sensu, i.e. from a Traditional point of view), in order to provide, entrust People with the Right to Freedom of Speach", (even if, in fact, the ECourtHR practicaly Notes the kind of Specific Activities, Concerning a Public Interest in the Society, in which such Victims of Human Rights Violations are Regularly Involved, i.e., f.ex., Medias' Writers, relevant NGOs, Dissident Politicians, Critical Intellectuals, Human Rights Defenders, Whistle-Blowers, Group of Protestors, etc).   

    >>> "This being said, it's quite Clear that those who are Tasked with Informing the Society, (i.e.) what we called, provisionaly, "Quality Journalists", Naturaly, have, or May have, Specific Duties in this Field", he stressed, as a matter of Principle.

    - "This is something, a Phenomenon which has been Developed, Enhanced during the Last few Years, Because, precisely, of the Technological Developments, (such as Digital, Networks, Internet, etc), which have (practically) Facilitated to allow Freedom of Expression for (almost) everyone (involved in this task : Comp. Supra), Giakoumopoulos went on to add, (from the Technical point of view, i.e. as far as it concerns the New Fact, that there is No More Need of a Rich, private or collective, Property in order to Publish via Heavy Printing Machines, cumbersome Stocks of required Raw Materials, Numerous Staff, and Long Distribution Channels, from which they can be too easily Censored or Fired, But Motivated and Able People, who have something Important to say to the Society, Became, at last, Technically Free to Publish, easily and Directly, with a Simple "Personal Computer" or even only a "SmartPhone", branched to the World Wide Web, via a mere "Wifi", unless they were Harassed, Oppressed, Wounded or Killed, f.ex. as Daphne and some others)...

    => -"So, this is one of the Challenges, that we Face Today, and (CoE's) Member States will Have to Look at it", the competent Top Official of the PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy, and Rule of Law Concluded, Pointing at a foreseable Future.

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    + In Addition, the Experienced CoE's Director General on Legal + Human, Rights Issues, Later-on, reversed Back to "Eurofora"'s "2nd Question", "that I didN't Yet Reply", "about Digital Meetings", (Comp. Supra), in order to point out that, in his view too, "the Excellent Organisation of This Meeting, for which I want to Thank, once again, Minister Nouris, and its whole Team, and the Cypriot Authorities, give us (CoE) a Conviction that We (Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organisation) Can Hold Succesfully Ministerial Conferences in This Way", (i.e. through a Special Web Connexion, Public Visibility, Invited Participants, and a Secure Part Reserved Only for Ministers' interactions among them).

    - "But, it is Also True, that, Meeting in Person, canNot, Always, be Replaced by This kind of (Video-)Conferences. It (Physical, Personal Meetings) will always be (at least) a very Important Part of International Relations and Diplomacy", he noted Carefully, (expressing a widely-spread Belief, that Nobody Contests).

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    As far as the Main Issue of this Article is concerned, (on a New Definition of Journalism for the Digital era), it's Interesting to Note also the Fact that, in Addition to Daphne Caruana-Galicia's Brutal Murder by a Bomb Explosion, on 2017 in Malta, (a former Long-Time Columnist in a Top Traditional Newspaper of the Establishment, before she Focuses on her Web-News Site "NoteBook: Running Commentary", that she Created After 2008), which attracted a Wide Attention in the CoE and EU Parliament, (See "Eurofora"'s Initial Publication immediately, Followed by Many Others, later-on: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/webjournalistmurder.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euparliamentpresidentoncoeandjournalistmurder.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/danishcoechairforehrreforms.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/daphnewebjournalistmurderenquiry.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/daphnepressfreedomandcorruption.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/rsfleaderondaphnemurderandjournalism.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eucoenewsondaphnemurder.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euparliamentvotesinternationalqueryondaphnemurder.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/3monthsdeadlineondaphneenquiry.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeosceunondaphnemurder.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/daphnemurderenquirydeviationrisk.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/commissionerreyndersonmaltaenquiry.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euparliamentsaysmaltapmisrisk.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/daphnemurderequirystandstill.html, etc+), it was Also the previous Brutal Murder of Brazilian Web-News Editor (of "WithOut Censorship" Site, created only 3 Years before) Joao Miranda Do Carmo, by Bullet Shots, (Both near their Family Homes), a former City Employee and Future Elections Candidate, which had been Strongly Condemned by UNESCO's Head, just 1 Year Earlier, on 2016, (See, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/brief/brief/webeditorkilled.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/unescoheadslamswebeditorsmurderasksjournalismprotection.html,  http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/unescobokovainternetautomatictranslation.html, etc).

    + In addition, "Eurofora"-Supported  ideas for a New Definition of Journalism in the Digital Era, were more or less Backed Also by Various Other Key Actors in the Medias and Freedom of Expression Field, Including, f.ex.,: ECHR Top Jurists', and European/International Federation Founder Aidan White-supported Suggestions by "Eurofora" on Protecting New Digital Medias Respecting Basic Press Deontology, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/brief/brief/webmedia.html);   Several "Hot" Discussions at the CoE-hosted Week-long Mega-Conference on "Journalism's Future", co-organized by Top Veteran Jerome Bouvier, with the Participation also of EFJ/IFJ's Founder and Long-Time Secretary General Aidan White on 2010, where the "Eurofora"-supported Factor of "Press Deontology" played an important role, Against some Bypassed, Old and Anti-Democratic, as well as Counter-Productive, Misconceptions of pseudo-"Journalism" of a Failed Establishment, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/digitalpress.html); Leading, inter alia, in a Landmark Proposal, Later-on, Published by Aidan White inside a wider CoE's Book, to Recognize a Special Protected Status for Web Medias Committed to Apply Press Deontology (See: + 3rd Part of http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/iachrcoebookandefjsgonjournalismdefinition.html); The Inter-American Court of Human Rights' landmark 2 Plenary Decisions of 1985 applying the Legal Status of "Journalism" to those who have been Dedicated into Regularly finding and Publishing Original News of Important General Interest for the Society, regardless of any Commercial aspect, (See + 2nd Part of : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/iachrcoebookandefjsgonjournalismdefinition.html); New "European Federation of Journalists"'  Secretary General, Ricardo Gutierrez' conceptions Approaching "Eurofora"'s main Ideas on Journalism Nowadays, already well Before his current Participation to Nowadays' CoE's Conference, (See : 1st Part of http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/iachrcoebookandefjsgonjournalismdefinition.html); Leading to an Interview at "EF" of CoE's Democratic Governance Head, Claudia Luciani, on the Need to ReNew Journalism Concept, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeofficialonrenewalofjournalismprotectionandwdf.html); as well as to French Minister on Medias, Francoise Nyssen's, agreement to Define protected Journalism by Press Deontology, and Not "Fiscal" Data, Contrary to the Past (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchministerondefiningjournalismbydeontology.html); International Federation of Journalists' vice-President and Russian Union of Journalists' Executive Secretary, Nadezda Azhgikhina, a Key-note Speaker in CoE's 2015 World Forum of Democracy's Plenary Session on "Media Responsiblity in "the Age of Terror", in an Interview that she gave us, supported relevant Ideas Near "Eurofora"'s conceptions, when she Opposed "Real Journalism" working for "the Public Good", to a "Business-model" Version, which, in fact, is Dangerously Enclined to Betray even Classic, Fundamental Principles of Press Ethics, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/ifjvpresidentcoespeakeronbusinesmediaagainstjournalismincrisisera.html); CoE's 2017 relevant Book, (Prefaced by then SG Jagland and updated by a select Committee of competent and experienced Experts, including EFJ's SG Gutierrez : Comp. Supra), with a New "Definition" of "Journalists", as "Persons who are Regularly Engaged in the Collection and Disseminaion of Informations, destinated to the Public, for "Journalistic" (i.e. Public Service) purpose, obviously Reminding the Inter-American Court of Human Righs, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coewebmediaofficialstoeurofora.html); CoE's PanEuropean Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović (2018 - 2024), former OSCE's High Representative on Free Speech, speaking to "Eurofora" also on 2O17, pleaded in Favour of Extending CoE Committee of Ministers' Resolution on Safety of Journalists "and Other Medias' Actors" even Further, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coecommissionerandjournalistsafety.html) ; Director-General of the International Press Freedom Watchdog "Reporters withOut Borders" (RSF), Lecturer at the prestigious "Sciences Po" University in Paris, and Experienced former Long-Time CEO at the International Federation of Human Rights' Leagues (FIDH), Antoine Bernard, invited to EU Parliament on 2018, Replied to an "Eurofora"s Question on what Daphne's Murder teaches us about real Journalism Nowadays, by stressing, in suibstance, that "Real Journalism" is rightful Criticism, added to Press Deontology, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/rsfleaderondaphnemurderandjournalism.html) ; Experienced CoE's Director on Information Society and Fight against Crime, Jan Kleissjen, supported an Extension of Journalists' Protection in order to Face the needs of a Pluralist Democracy Nowadays, speaking on 2019, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/webmediaandpluralism.html); etc+.

    >>> In Fact, the Heart of the Matter is that "Journalism"'s Definition Nowadays should Not remain Imprisoned in an Old, Bypassed, and Inadequate MisConception of someone who is merely ...Paid by a Media Business, regardless of What he/she does, (i.e. the Ridiculous image of a Stupid "Mini-Jupe"/Short-Skirt TV-Presenter, Limited to Read a Text Written by Others, and/or of a Lazy Employee Routinely repeating "Copy and Paste" Pseudo-"News" of Superficial Banality...),

    While Leaving Out People who are Commited into doing a Serious Work of Investigation, Substantial Redaction, and Publishing Regularly Original News Important for the General Interest of the Society, under some "Fiscal" or other Formal Pretexts, regardless of what they Contribute to Pluralist Democracy, (sometimes, even by Taking Risks and/or making various Sacrifices).

    + During the present, 2021 CoE's Conference, among the Various Participants who Evoked this Issue, were, f.ex., Also, "International Press Institute"'s Executive Director, Barbara Trionfi, (who spoke about "Positive Developments" in the Digital Era, by the Emergence of "a New Kind of Journalism", which, according to her view, deserved to be, at least partialy, "Supported by Public Funds"), as well as "Index on Censorship"'s Officer for Policy Research and Advocacy, Jessica Ni Mhainin, Representative of Partner Organisations in CoE's Platform for the Protection of Journalists, (who spoke about "Public Service Medias"), etc+. Another relevant Key Participant was Andrew Caruana Galicia, one of the 3 Sons of Daphne, as Co-Founder of the Foundation named after the Murdered Journalist, and also Member of CoE's above-mentioned Platform for Journalists' Safety, (who had, Already, spontaneously shown his Interest for what he called "Public Service Journalism", when "Eurofora" spoke about a New Definition of Journalism, in a Meeting with CoE's Rapporteur on Whistle-Blowers, French MEP Sylvain Waserman, vice-President of the National Assembly, at the eve of a landmark Video-Debate with World Famous American WhistleBlower Edward Snowden, who Reacted to 2 of Our Questions on adjacent Issues : Comp. http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/whistleblowersineuandcoe.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/snowdenfriendshelpwhistleblowers.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/snowdenlaughonlongmuellerspyingtrump.html, etc. However, Andrew did not explicitly repeat that Issue in Nowadays' CoE's Conference, despite the Fact that Daphne had, indeed, personaly mentioned, in Comments at her Web-News Site, that, in Malta, only 2 Persons practiced, until then, that Special Kind of Journalism that she had finaly Chosen).

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    >>> However, in CoE's Resolution about "Freedom of Expression" Adopted Today by this 2021 Ministeral Conference, the PanEuropean Organisation notes "the particular role and Mission of  Public Service Media in delivering a Diverse,  Attractive  and  Inclusive  media  Offer,  and  creating  Optimal  conditions  for Freedom  of  Expression.  Public  Service  Media  should  set  an  Example  ....and  should  be  Provided  with  the  remit,  Resources,  and Independence  necessary  to  fulfill  this  Role  with  Transparency  and  Accountability. They  should  be  enabled  to  Experiment with  and  invest  in  AI  Tools  that  Promote media Pluralism and the values of Privacy and Data Protection, Diversity, Equality and  social  Cohesion  by  actively  Reaching  out  to  Disengaged  Audiences,  including youth".

    => Naturaly, such a Mission would, f.ex. Fit Well, inter alia, also  "Eurofora"'s Project for EU Citizens' Dialogue with Politicians Before Decisions affecting their Lives and/or Society at large.

    Meanwhile, the Russian Federation published a Series of Critical Observations about 3 concrete Points in the Official Documents Adopted by this CoE's Conference, (that Moscow Supported Positively for All the Rest, as it Clearly Declared), where it Denounced, f.ex., so-called "Gender" Issues, the way that some ad hoc Committees had been Composed or Operated until now, and CoE's repeated (Since a 2016 official Recommendation) Mention of a New Category nick-Named "Other Medias' Actors", in Addition to "Journalists", allegedly Deserving a Similar Protection.

    On this Last Point, obviously Relevant to the Issue examined in this "Eurofora"s Article (Comp. Supra), the Russian Paper Criticises what it calls as "Vague, UnSpecified ... Too Broad and Unclear" "Scope" of that Category nick-named "New Media Actors". Particularly since Moscow considers that "Human rights are breached on the internet by Private Actors" mainly, above all by some "Global Internet Intermediaries", (apparently those Called in the USA Nowadays as "Big Tech", i.e. the "GAFA", etc).

    Such a Criticism appears, a priori, Partly Understandable, When it comes to Some Puzzling Concrete Mentions, by Relevant CoE's Documents, which seem to Target Widely "New  Media  Actors  (including  Online  Platforms)" (sic !), and  even ..."a profound Transformation of the Media environment, with ...Search  engines,  Social media  Platforms,  and  other  online  Services, (which) have taken  over  large  parts  of  the distribution  of  News", as a CoE's Text says, (f.ex. in the Resolution "on Safety", for that Last Mention, and the Resolution "on Freedom of Expression" for the First Mention, etc). In Addition, phrases such as "growing Competition between Traditional Media, and New Media Actors", so that "New  Media  Actors  (including  Online  Platforms)  have  an  active Responsibility in preventing Negative impacts of Digital technologies on Freedom of Expression", "in line  with  CM/Rec (2018)  on ...responsibilities of Internet Intermediaries" (sic ! See Resolution "on Freedom of Expression"), goes Also in the direction of Russia's Concerns, (Comp. Supra).

    + Moreover, the Distinction between a current "Business model of Journalism" and "Real Journalism" Nowadays, proposed by the Russian Union of Journalists' Executive Secretary, Nadezda Azhgikhina, who is also the Brussels-based "International Federation of Journalists"' vice-President, and was a Key-note Speaker in CoE's 2015 World Forum of Democracy's Plenary Session on "Media Responsiblity in "the Age of Terror", (as she pointed out in an Interview to "Eurofora", at the CoE in Strasbourg : Comp. Supra), apparently Seems much Closer to Our Conceptions, (Comp. Supra).

    => Thus, it Might, probably, be Possible to Reconcile, in Substance, the above-Mentioned Critical Note of Russia, with Most CoE's Texts on "Other Media Actors", via "Eurofora"s View about a Necessary "New Definition of Journalism" in the Digital Era, in a Similar Direction as for the so-called "Public Service Medias", etc., (which goes Beyond an Old Establishment's Narrow Scope, Bypassed by New Digital Developments, But is Not so "Vague" or "Too Broad" as Some Controversial CoE Texts' mentions of "Other Media Actors" : Comp. Supra).

    At any case, Nevertheless, Meanwhile, CoE's Director of the Information Society Department, Patrick Penninckx, (Comp. Other Statements to "Eurofora" by Penninckx f.ex. at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coesgjaglandondataprotection.html, etc), reportedly spoke Briefly to Collegues Journalists in Cyprus about "Developments with regard to Digital Society and Transformations ...for many Journalists (and) Media Actors", so that "we need to ensure that ..., in these digital developments, we ...find a New Place for Media Actors in our society. In order to Protect Democracy".

    Eurofora" was practicaly Hindered to Check whether there might have been, or not, any Other Oral Mentions by CoE's Video-Conference Participants on this Issue, (as Giakoumopoulos hinted : Comp. Supra), after un UnPrecedented Cyber-Attack against 2 out of 3 Computers in Our Office, during the 2nd Day, June 11, scheduled for this CoE Video-Press-Conference.

    >>> However, it's particularly with their Resolution "on Safety" of Journalists, also Adopted Today by CoE's Conference, that the European Ministers Note "the key Role of Journalists and Other Media Actors in Exposing Wrongdoing, Corruption, Crime  and  Abuse  of  power  (which) exposes  them  to  Intimidation,  Threats,  Harassment  and Violence, arbitrary Surveillance or Interception of communications, Misuse of national laws, abusive Litigation (SLAPP), sometimes to arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty, and in some most Extreme cases to Torture and Killings".

    + They also Denounce that "the Risk of Deterring Journalists and Other Media Actors from pursuing their Work, or of encouraging   self-Censorship   is   increased   by   the   Aggressive   rhetoric,   targeted Disinformation and Smear campaigns carried out by some Political and Private actors in  response  to Critical  Reporting".

    - "Recommendation  CM/Rec(2016)   on  the  Protection  of  journalism  and  the  safety  of Journalists  and  Other  Media  Actors,  provides  detailed  Guidance  to  member  States, organised  around  4 Pillars:  Prevention,  Protection,  Prosecution  and  promotion  of Information, education and awareness-raising. The text is based on the Binding Legal requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the relevant Case-Law of  the  European  Court  of  Human  Rights", CoE reminds.

    >>> But, "its  Implementation  by  member  States  has however, proved Insufficient and/or Ineffective and as a result, the situation has furthere Dgraded in the Recent years", CoE Denounced. "Since .... 2015, the environment for the Media in CoE member States has further Degraded.  The Increasing trend  of Attacks ...  encompasses a Doubling on an annual basis of the number of recorded Threats, including Death threats, and a staggering total of 27 Murders noted ... in member States since 2015, 22 of which remain Unsolved". That's why CoE's Ministers asked for "dedicated National Action Plans on the Safety of Journalists and Other Media Actors" to be "established and  Implemented  to  tackle  this  Emergency  in  a  comprehensive  and  coordinated manner, based on the above Recommendation" of 2016 (Comp. Supra). Including in order "to Asdress the specific Risks, challenges and threats that Women Journalists and Other Media  Actors  face  ...also  in  the  Online  sphere", as well as 'the Threats, Abuse and Intimidation faced by Journalists and Other Media Actors on grounds of their Race, colour, ethnic or  National  origin,  language,  Religion  or  sexual  orientation  or  other  Personal Characteristics", while Also "dedicat(ing) specific Attention and Resources to stemming Impunity for Killings of, Attacks on and ill-Treatment of Journalists and Other Media Actors". CoE's Ministers "further  Commit  to  ..better Protect Journalists and Other Media Actors from arbitrary Dismissal or Reprisals, and from Precarious working conditions that make them more Vulnerable to Attacks". "Pledg(ing) to swiftly and decisively Condemn any Attack on Journalists and Other Media  Actors and  their  Family  members,  whether  these  have  taken  place  on National soil, or in any Other member state", they Also "fully  Support the ...Safety of Journalists and Other Media Actors, both at Domestic level, and withIN the Organisation" of Strasbourg, (a Commitment taken for the 1st Time so clearly).

    + Nevetheless, Violations of Freedom of Expression can take place Not Only inside CoE's Member States themselfs and/or "withIn the (PanEuropean) Organisation", as CoE's Texts evoke, But Also by "Global Internet Intermediaries" at TransNational Networks which may "considerably Surpasse regulatory efforts by the States and international Organisations", so that a "relevant binding International Legal instrument"  and "Concerted efforts of All the Member States of the CoE" are "Urgently Necessary", as Russia's above-mentioned Observations suggest.

    => F.ex., "AI" unviels "New  forms  of  Interference  with  Freedom  of  Expression", notes CoE's relevant Resolution : Indeed, "the Blocking, Filtering, Removal, demotion or demonetisation of illegal and Harmful Online Content, for instance, Can Only be Managed at (a Global) Scale with the help of Algorithms, that are developed and run by Platforms. While algorithms play a vital role in Accelerating and  expanding  online  platforms’  efforts  to  Detect  and  address  illegal  and  Harmful Content, Human Oversight over these processes is Crucial to avoid Undue limitations". Therefore, CoE's Ministers "are Concerned that ...Online content Moderation do Not always Satisfy the Requirements of Legality, Legitimacy and Proportionality guaranteed in Article 10.2 of the Convention (HR)", Risking ... "over-takedown, Bias and Lack of Transparency",  withOut  "effective  Complaint  Mechanisms". Therefore,  there is a  "Need  for  enhanced Transparency  and  Dialogue  with  the  wide  range  of  Non-Governmental  Actors  that operate  in  the  Online  environment,  (including  Civil  Society  representatives,  online Service  Providers  and  social  Media  Companies,  individual  Users  and  the  Media), who must each live up to their respective Responsibilities", according to the CoE.

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    Opposite to Russia and All Other CoE's Member States, Turkey was the Only one among 47 Countries, who did Not Participate at all in Any part of this CoE's Ministerial Conference on Advantages and Challenges at the Internet. (Despite, or, rather, Because of the Fact that an Exceptionaly Big Number of People using the Internet are Notoriously Harassed and/or Persecuted and Oppressed in that Country)...

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

     + On the Contrary, co-Organiser of the PanEuropean Conference, Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades Concluded in his initial Address that he Hoped that "the Declaration adopted at the End of the Conference ... Will Set CoE's Agenda in the area of Freedom of Expression", "which is a Core element of any Democratic Society", (as a Number 1 Issue, in his view).

    - As for "Eurofora"'s Query on a possible "New Definition of Journalism, adequate for the Digital Era", (Comp. Supra), President Anastasiades' references to the "People who Provide us with News and Information" regularly, "in the Digital Era", which "has uterly Transformed the World of Journalism", together with his "Wish to underline the Necessity of creating Safe Working Conditions for All Media Workers", as he stressed, apparently Indicates a position standing Near Enough...

    + CoE's Secretary General Marja Pejcinovic-Buric, after welcoming him, Concluded mainly by observing that "Citizens .../need to be fully aware of the implications of AI, including regarding freedom of expression and privacy", while "Journalists need be able to work Freely, in Adequate conditions, enabling them to exercise their role as Essential public “Watchdogs” in our Democracies". I.e. Something which is Also Compatible with -and Open to- an Eventual New Definition...

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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sarkopoet_400

In a last-minute, surprise move, New EU Chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, anounced a proposal in Strasbourg to open an EU Parliament debate on Europe's Identity in the ranup to 2009 Election :

    - "I am conscious of the fact that there is, today, a real Crisis on Europe's
Identity", he replied earlier to a question by Greek MEP Ioanis Varvitsiotes, who had asked him to "advance beyond those who don't really want a Political Europe",

    - "Why not a real Debate on what is Europe's Identity ?", proposed
Sarkozy, in this regard.

    -  "EU Parliament could organize such Debates", he suggested :"It's
better for EU Parliament, than for National Governments, or EU Commission, to
define what is the European Identity", the French President proposed.

    A diplomatic way to avoid obstacles by some Governments and/or some Brussels' bureacrats, reportedly opposed to really free and popular, critical European debates on hot political issues..

    Sarkozy brillantly won the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in France in 2007, in the line of the principles anounced at an important Speech in Strasbourg, February 2007, about a Political Europe, and a European Identity on issues which matter to the People.

   

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