Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the guarantee of the independence of public service broadcasting in the member states



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Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the guarantee of the independence of public service broadcasting in the member states
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 27 September 2006

at the 974th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe,


Recalling the commitment of member states to the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, as guaranteed by Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights);
Recalling, in particular, the importance of freedom of expression and information as a cornerstone of democratic and pluralist society, as underlined in the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights and, in this context, stressing the importance of the existence of a wide variety of independent and autonomous media, permitting the reflection of diversity of ideas and opinions, as stated in the Committee of Ministers’ Declaration on freedom of expression and information of 29 April 1982;
Highlighting the specific remit of public service broadcasting and reaffirming its vital role as an essential element of pluralist communication and of social cohesion which, through the provision of comprehensive programme services accessible to everyone, comprising information, education, culture and entertainment, seeks to promote the values of modern democratic societies and, in particular, respect for human rights, cultural diversity and political pluralism;
Reiterating the objective to ensure the absence of any arbitrary controls or constraints on participants in the information process, on media content or on the transmission and dissemination of information, as stated in the Declaration on the freedom of expression and information;
Bearing in mind the undertaking made at the 4th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy (Prague, December 1994) to guarantee the independence of public service broadcasters against any political and economic interference and, more particularly, recalling Recommendation No. R (96) 10 on the guarantee of the independence of public service broadcasting;
Considering that the editorial independence and institutional autonomy of public service broadcasting, including through an appropriate, secure and transparent funding framework, should be guaranteed by means of a coherent policy and an adequate legal framework, and ensured by the effective implementation of the said policy and framework;
Welcoming the situation which prevails in those member states where the independence of public service broadcasting is solidly entrenched through the regulatory framework and scrupulously respected in practice, as well as the progress being made in other member states towards securing such independence;
Noting the concern expressed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in its Recommendation 1641 (2004) on public service broadcasting that the fundamental principle of the independence of public service broadcasting contained in Recommendation No. R (96) 10 is still not firmly established in a number of member states;
Bearing in mind the texts adopted at the 7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy (Kyiv, March 2005), in particular the Ministers’ call for the monitoring of the implementation by member states of Recommendation No. R (96) 10, and taking note, in this connection, of the overview contained in the appendix hereto concerning the situation in member states;
Regretting developments in a few member states that tend to weaken the guarantee of independence of public service broadcasting or lessen the independence that had already been attained, and expressing concern about the slow or insignificant progress being made in certain other member states towards securing independent public service broadcasting, be it as a result of an inadequate regulatory framework or the failure to apply in practice existing laws and regulations,
I. Reiterates its firm attachment to the objectives of editorial independence and institutional autonomy of public service broadcasting organisations in member states;
II. Calls on member states to:
- implement, if they have not yet done so, Recommendation No. R (96) 10 on the guarantee of the independence of public service broadcasting, with particular reference to the guidelines appended thereto, and having regard to the opportunities and challenges brought about by the information society, as well as by political, economic and technological changes in Europe;
- provide the legal, political, financial, technical and other means necessary to ensure genuine editorial independence and institutional autonomy of public service broadcasting organisations, so as to remove any risk of political or economic interference;
- disseminate widely the present declaration and, in particular, bring it to the attention of the relevant authorities and of public service broadcasting organisations, as well as to other interested professional and industrial circles;
III. Invites public service broadcasters to be conscious of their particular remit in a democratic society as an essential element of pluralist communication and of social cohesion, which should offer a wide range of programmes and services to all sectors of the public, to be attentive to the conditions required in order to fulfil that remit in a fully independent manner and, to this end, to elaborate and adopt or, if appropriate, review, and to respect codes of professional ethics or internal guidelines.

Appendix to the Declaration



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