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Home arrow newsitems arrow French Media Minister Nyssen to Eurofora: Towards defining Journalism by Deontology, Not Fiscal data

French Media Minister Nyssen to Eurofora: Towards defining Journalism by Deontology, Not Fiscal data

Written by ACM
Friday, 18 May 2018
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*Strasbourg/ARTE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Responding to a Press Invitation for a Debate with New French Minister for Medias and Culture, Francoise Nyssen, on the "Hot" Topical Issue of "Fake News", organised this Afternoon at the prestigious European Radio-TV "ARTE"'s Headquarters, Facing EU Parliament's Building in Strasbourg, "Eurofora" was Positively Surprized by the Competent Minister's Brief, but Clearly Affirmative Reply to our Question about whether it may be More Helpfull for the Quality of information to Adopt a Definition of Journalism which would be Based preferably on Press Deontology Principles, Instead of some mainly "Fiscal" elements, (as some still persist to demand, Contrary to Recent European and International Developments : See Infra).


This interesting Exchange, Topically took place Shortly Before a brand-New Law on "Fake News" is due to be Soon Voted by the French National Assembly, (See Infra), Drafted by MP Bruno Studer, (who was also Present in that Event, and Spoke, Afterwards, to "Eurofora" : See Infra).


Meanwhile, "ARTE"'s Officials had already shown some Well-Crafted Videos of special TV-Programs for Children which made an artful, but adequately Simplified Introduction to some Press Deontology's Basic Principles, (including, f.ex., to Cross-Check alleged "Facts" for Verification, etc).

 

french_media_minister_nyssen_at_arte_press_area_eurofora_400


But, even if that Special Meeting had been Explicitly Prepared for such "Fake News" - related Debates, Nevertheless, curiously, Most of the Participants to this "ARTE" Debate, had prefered to Focus, instead, on anOther, Different Topical Issue : that of a ... "Culture-Pass" Card for Free Access to Culture by Young Students, which had been Launched by Thyssen earlier this Morning and appeared quite Popular, (See Infra)...


Therefore, "Eurofora" had, practically, to Wait up to the special Moment Fixed by the Ministry's Press Service, for a Specific "Press-Point" with the Accredited Journalists, in order to have a Chance to Explore the Competent French Minister's Views on the above-mentioned Issue :
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 - "Eurofora", Noting the Fact that, recently, there are Several moves about "Fake News" also at European level, (f.ex. in EU Parliament, CoE, etc), as well as various Proposals made by Independent, Experienced Press Experts (See Infra),


Asked the French Minister for Medias, if she Agreed that, at least one among the Ways to Protect the Quality of Information, should be to Find Ways to Make the Definition of Journalism (including Legal), Closer to Values and Principles of Press Deontology, instead of restricting it to some Controversial, rather "Fiscal" purposes-Serving elements, (which put, f.ex., France at a Distance from Germany, from ECHR's Case-Law, even from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights', etc. : See Infra).

 

french_minister_of_culure__medias_fr._nyssen_400 


- The Reply, given to that "Eurofora"s Question, by the French Minister of Medias and Culture, Francoise Nyssen, was Suprisingly Positive :


 - "We (France), ... are Already Advancing Towards that Direction !", she immediately Stressed, from the outset.


- "In fact, it's (almost) Already there !", Nyssen spontaneously Added, (may be too Optimistically, but, at any case, significantly)


+ And, as a Concrete Example, the Competent Minister pointed, at least, at a particular "Law", which had been Adopted by the French National Assembly "a Few Time Ago", i.e. since 2016, (See more Details Infra).


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


    Both some Old and Recent French Legal/Political Texts (already from 1979, 1881, as well as after 2010, etc) make certain Interesting References to various Definitions or, at least, Descriptions of Journalism, which seem very Close to that officially and clearly Adopted by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights already as early as since 1985, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/iachrcoebookandefjsgonjournalismdefinition.html, etc), before being also, mutatis-mutandis, endorsed by CoE's Committee of Ministers since 2000, and more Recently and clearly reiterated, in substance, by a relevant Reply of the European Federation of Journalists' Secretary General Gutierrez to a relevant "Eurofora"s Question during a 2-Days long International Conference on Press Freedom issues, as well as by the Explicit Definition subsequently adopted by a Team of CoE's Experts who Drafted the Latest, 2016 Book of the PanEuropean, 47 Member Countries-strong Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, about Press Freedom, Journalists and the Internet, back on 2016-2017, consistent with ECHR's case-law on Article 10, (which is the Only one to Protect Journalists) :


- I.e, mainly, that Journalism is the Activity of Persons Committed to Regularly Search, Analyse, Write and Publish Original News on Issues which Affect People's Lives and/or Society at large, (Comp., inter alia, also, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coecommissionerandjournalistsafety.html , etc).


However, at least Some among those French Texts (Contrary to the situation existing in Other Countries, both in Europe and elsewhere in the World) use to Add also an irrelevant element, which has Nothing to do with pluralistic Democracy, Neither with Human Rights, but it apparently Serves only some Fiscal purposes, (concerning, f.ex. those who Pay a certain Percentage of Money Revenues to the Journalist, etc).


+ That's one among the Reasons for which, (according to an Earlier Suggestion made by "Eurofora" on the occasion of a Journalists' Gathering at the CoE in Strasbourg, when we also Discussed the matter together: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/digitalpress.html +
+ http://www.eurofora.net/brief/brief/webmedia.html), the World-Famous Press Expert, former Long-Time Secretary General of the European and International Federation of Journalists, and currently Director of the "Ethical Journalism Network", Aidan White, has Urged, (mainly in a Long Article at a Book Published by the CoE on 2015 : See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/iachrcoebookandefjsgonjournalismdefinition.html), in substance, to Focus, on the Definition of Journalism and Assimilated activities, more on the observance of certain Basic Principles of Press Deontology.


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+ Moreover, Nyssen did Not immediately Deny when "Eurofora" added that "this should concern also the Traditional Medias, since, f.ex., in the USA, even "CNN" has been recently Accused to air "Fake News", as well as some Other Mainstream Medias, (particularly by People related to New US President Don Trump).


- But, at least as far as it concerns the current Draft Law on Fake News, its main Author, French MP Bruno Studer, speaking afterwards to "Eurofora", had a quite Different stance :


- "We don't focus on the Content, but, mainly on the Way in which it is Transmitted", Studer sharply told "Eurofora" in Reply to a Similar Observation as that which we had just made in fine during Media/Culture Minister Thyssen's Press-point, (Comp. Supra).


At this Stage, it remains, however, to take due Care for that Draft Not to risk to be Criticized for any eventual Discrimination against On-Line Medias, compared to Traditional Medias, which would, obviously, be Both irrational, not legitimate, and almost certainly illegal. It all depends, naturally, on How exactly will be Crafted the Precise Wording of the Final Text.


- As MP Studer confirmed to "Eurofora", it's expected to be Voted by the French Parliamentary Assembly at the Beginning of June 2018, and, afterwards, it will follow the usual Procedure of Debate and Vote also by the Senate, according to the results of which, it will be brought to President Macron for official Promulgation, so that it might, probably, enter into force, around the Beginning of 2018's Autumn.


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

 
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- However, when Minister Thyssen gave the above-mentioned Reply to "Eurofora"s main Question about a Definition of Journalism closer to Press Deontology, instead of mere Fiscal aspects, (Comp. Supra), she chose to cite as an Example supposed to Advance in this Direction, a 2016 Law, which had been Drafted by the former President of French Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Cultural/Media Affairs, Patrick Bloche :

 - F.ex., already, "we had the Bloche Law on (Press) Deontology, which was adopted a few time ago", she simply pointed out, in this regard.

Indeed, that Law speaks about Press Deontology, and apparentlly seeks to Protect Journalists against some eventual Pressure to go against it.


But it does so mainly in the case of eventual Differences between a Subordinate Paid Worker and his Boss, inside a Collective Business outlet, etc.


Therefore, it does Not contain any kind of innovative Definition of Journalism "erga omnes" at all.


In Addition, that quite Controversial Law had been Attacked by MPs and Senators before the Constitutional Court in France, which declared at least 1 of its main Articles as UnConstitutional.


Moreover, several Medias, even Traditional Mainstream Newspapers (as f.ex. "Liberation" : Center Left, etc) have, meanwhile, Published some very Critical Articles, which Denounced, in particular, that some Ambiguities in that 2016 Law, might, in Fact, instead of Protecting Journalists, (as its Initial and Official Aim was), it might, on the Contrary, provoke even certain Dangers against Press Freedom, in certain cases...


=> Therefore, it's obvious that the Need to susbtantiate further, with concrete examples Medias Minister Thyssen's overall Positive appraisal, in her Reply to "Eurofora"'s above-mentioned Question, (Comp. Supra), stil remains.


Hopefully, some interesting relevant elements of Fact might, eventually, Start to Arrive, in one way or another, at the Horizon of a foreseeable Future, asap....



------------------------------------------
+ "Culture-Pass"
-----------------------------------------------


+ For the Rest, Earlier Today, Francoise Nyssen, as Minister of Culture, had notoriously Launched, elsewhere, the experimental stage of a Popular New Measure due to Help Young Students' Access to Culture, nick-named "Pass-Culture", in Agreement with the University of Strasbourg :


- Those sympahetic events took place at the National Theater of Strasbourg (TNS), after a Meeting with a Team of Young People at the adjacent Museum of Famous Cartoonist "Tomy Ungerer", (by a Coincidence, located side by side with CoE Secretary General's Home !).


But, even if we had been Accredited also for that Event, unfortunately, this happened almost at the Same Hour, during which, "Eurofora" and several Other Journalists, had to made a Press Coverage of French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe's official visit at the ENA School for Senior Officials of Public Admiistrations, at the Other Side of Strasbourg... (See our NewsReport, with Statements made by PM. Philippe, and other relevant News, from the spot at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchprilmeministeronenaschoolasitalydecides.html).

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Nevertheless, "Eurofora" had the opportunity to Meet, just a few Minutes after Nyssen's departure from the TNS, a group of 3 Young Students who had personally Participated to those events on that "Culture-Pass" Card :


- By speaking briefly with them on the spot, it became Clear that they appeared very Glad for that Move, (at least at this Stage), made according to New French President Emmanuel Macron's Electoral Promises of 2017, as they Reminded themselves, which is due to Give them a kind of Credit up to 500 € per Year in order to Pay for Access to various Cultural Events, that they are, in principle, "Free" to choose, where, when and as they Like, (f.ex. on many, or few, even one event, etc).


Last, but not least, by a Coincidence, Both 3 of them, told "Eurofora" that they were Originated from "Selestat" Village, Near Strasbourg, i.e. the precise Strategic Local Crossroads from which we had taken a Train recently in our way Back from President Macron's recent Trip up to the Nearby Vosges' Mountains, where he Launched the 1st "EU Citizens' Public Consultation" on Europe's Future (at Epinal City), before Visiting also various Other landmark, Rural but Historic Areas, (such as, f.ex. Saint-Dié city, etc. : See Macron's Reply to "Eurofora"s Question there at: ....)
 

 

(../..)



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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send, Earlier, to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap)

 

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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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