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Home arrow newsitems arrow Plenel to Eurofora on attempts for State/Big Corporation monitoring on Web NewsMedias + Free Speech

Plenel to Eurofora on attempts for State/Big Corporation monitoring on Web NewsMedias + Free Speech

Parašė ACM
Monday, January 08, 2018
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*Strasbourg/International Kleber Library/Angelo Marcopolo/- Independently of a recent Controversy around "Charlie Hebdo" horrible Massacre by Deadly Islamist Terrorists cowardly Targetting Journalists and other Civilian People for Expressing a Critical point of view in public, (and/or of Mr Ramadan's wrongdoings, etc), "Eurofora" finds that the opinion of an Experienced Journalist, former Long-Time Newspaper Editor, and co-Founder of a Web NewsMedia outlet, as Edwy Plenel from France (f. "Le Monde", now "MediaPart"), on current Attempts to Monitor Free Speech at the Inrernet and/or Web NewsMedias by States and/or Big Corporations, as it results from the Reply that he gave to "Eurofora"s relevant Question, deserves to be published and become Part of a Wider Discussion, Nowadays in Europe, the USA and the rest of the World, which has just Started.


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 - "Eurofora" asked Plenel, in substance, about his reaction, from the point of view of Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression, to various recent attempts, anounced both in France and some Other Countries in Europe and elsewhere in the World, sometimes even by European/PanEuropean Organisations, etc., to take certain Measures for Monitoring by Governments and/or Big Corporations of various Publications at the Internet, from Social Networks up to Web NewsMedias, etc.


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   - Concerning that "Question about Freedoms", (as he resumed the above mentioned "Eurofora"s Query), Plenel noted, inter alia, that, f.ex., recently in France, "there is an anouncement about a Draft Law on <<Fake News>>, by the President of the Republic".


 - "My position is very Simple, on that", he went on to Reply, adopting, for the rest, "Eurofora"s approach, from a General point of view, (Comp. Supra) :


 - "I wait to see, First", before judging, he Carefully said, as a matter of Principle.


 >>> -  "But I Always feel a DisTrust whenever a Political Power, an Executive Power, pretends to Control Freedom by itself a priori", the Experienced Journalist/Web Editor Warned from the outset, as a matter of General Principle.


 - Because, "in a Regime of Freedom, we are Accountable of what we say, we write, a Posteriori", he pointed out.


- "It's not a regime of prior autorisation or prohibition".


 - "Even if I observe that a Fight is necessary against saying anything, by anyone,  in a Democracy of Social Networks", Plenel found.


 - In fact, "for me, the Real Battle is to make obligatory to be able to Identify the Persons, In order to be Accountable of what they have said, if they have Hurt some. As, f.ex., in case of Slandering, or in order to Identify the Author of an Article", etc., he went on to add.

=> - "But, once again, I feel Distrust ("I find it Suspicious") when a Political Power - even for the Best Arguments in the World -  starts claiming that it wants to Decide by itself on what Can be Said, or canNot be Said", he concluded.

 

edwy_plenel__international_library_kleber_eurofora_400


    I.e., a fortiori, when some Public Authorities empower a few Big private Multinational Corporations to exerce Censorship on the Web, even withOut Any Judicial and/or other Legal Guarantee against possible Abuse, mosty using, for that purpose, various Anonymous Individuals, often briefly Hired by Low-cost Intermediary Businesses, accross the World, withOut any serious Knowledge of Law and Ethics, Neither any Fair Legal Redress process clearly available to the possible Victims, (as several recent Blunders have recently Revealed in various Shocking Scandals, from Europe to North America, etc., including, f.ex., even a Parliamentary Group vice-President at the German Bundesrat, and the new US President Don Trump himself, with his Famous and Popular "Twitter" Account being Blocked by an obscure Turkish Migrant who had briefly come from Abroad, and left immediately afterwards !... Cf.: ...+ ..., etc).

 ----------------------

    + As for Plenel's (and others') recent Pressure to "Identify" the "Persons" of any Publication at the Internet, i.e. not just for Journalists' WebMedia NewsArticles, but Even for Simple Citizens' Publications at Social Networks, Web Forums, etc., apparently, it seems quite Dangerous, and Contrary to the Free Internet's principles since the Founding Fathers of the Web, to eventually Expose to Anybody the Personal Identity of any Net-Citizen who might Express a Political Opinion or Social View in a Public Debate at an Internet Forum.


    It's not for nothing, f.ex., that, in Democracy, every Political Vote is "Secret", as far as the Link with the Person who Voted is concerned... And how could, f.ex., a Civil Servant, dare Express any of his/her Political/Social Views at an Internet Forum, if he/she was always Obliged to Expose his/her Personal Identity to Anybody ? Obviously, he/she would Risk his/her own Professional Career, may be lose his/her Lob by Political/Social Hostility and/or Discrimination, etc., in real Practice. Last, but not least, even Simple Citizens might be Afraid to Freely Express their Socio-Political Opinions at Internet Forums or Social Networks, particularly on some "Hot" and Controversial Topical Issues, mainly Because of Fear of more or less Brutal Aggressions that they might Suffer from some Violent Socio-Political "Adversaries", among those who don't hesitate to abuse of Gross Insults and/or Various other Forms of Intolerance and Aggression against those who Think Differently : F.ex., even during a Public Debate held by Edwy Plenel himself, on anOther Issue, Today in Strasbourg's "International Library Kleber", a Young Person and/or others who dared Express some Critical, Dissident Socio-Political Views, were Brutaly and Repeatedly Bullied, facing even Loud gross Insults as, f.ex., among others, also : - "Bastard !" or "Corrupted  !" ("Pourriture !" in the original in French), "Sick Mind(s) !", "Red-Brown" (i.e. Communist-NAZI), etc...         

 

=> In order to Prevent such and/or even various Worse Aggressions which may Follow after a "Hot" Political/Social Debate on Topical Issues of Importance for the Society, it seems obviously much Better to Continue to Protect the Private Identity of each Participant at a Web Forum or Network, (Respecting a Founding Principle of the Internet), withOut Exposing it to Anybody.


    Otherwise, the Horrible Massacre of "Charlie Hebdo" isn't enough to Warn about various possible Dangers against Freedom of Speech nowadays ?


    However, on the Contrary, in case of Clear Abuse and/or Illegality, Slandering, etc., the Competent and Responsible Public Authorities should have the Legal Means to UnMask any eventual Wrong-Doer, in order to be able to use the traditional, adequate Legal Procedures if he/she really Aggressed someone else in an unjustifiable, Brutal and/or Damaging way. But, in Fact, it seems that this can Already be done, essentially, by the available Legal and Technical Instruments...



    However, on the Contrary, in case of Clear Abuse and/or Illegality, Slandering, etc., the Competent and Responsible Public Authorities should have the Legal Means to UnMask any eventual Wrong-Doer, in order to be able to use the traditional, adequate Legal Procedures if he/she really Aggressed someone else in an unjustifiable, Brutal and/or Damaging way. But, in Fact, it seems that this can Already be done, essentially, by the Available Legal and Technical Instruments...

 

    - So, why that Rush ?

 

 

(../..)

 

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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.

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