The News Media Coalition has been formally granted ‘observer status’ of the Council of Europe’s steering committee on media freedom.
The NMC will now be able to contribute to the work of the CDMSI Steering Committee on Media and Information Society which, under the authority of the Committee of Ministers, CDMSI, steers the Council of Europe in the fields of freedom of expression, media, internet governance and other information society-related issues and oversees the work on personal data protection.
In the CDMSI’s latest report, the steering committee report on the observer status and set out progress in two areas of particular interest to the NMC member publishers and news agencies.
Quality journalism in the digital age
The Secretariat informed the CDMSI on the latest developments related to the draft Recommendation on promoting a favourable environment for quality journalism in the digital age. This is still awaiting adoption by the Committee of Ministers and steps are being taken to secure member states’ support prior to the next Committee of Ministers.
Obstruction to the coverage of public events by journalists
In its report, the CDMSI secretariat provided information about the recent work of the Council of Europe inter-secretariat Task Force on Freedom of Expression and Media. Among others, the Task Force is entrusted with the preparation of the Secretary General’s regular reports to the Committee of Ministers on freedom of expression and a previous report put into spotlight the issue of the safety of journalists and obstruction to the coverage of public events by journalists;
The CDMSI agreed to hold its next Plenary meeting on 1-3 June 2022. The format of the meeting (online/hybrid/physical) will be decided closer to the date, depending on the circumstances.
UK Online Safety Bill
The CDMSI report also highlighted the Online Safety Bill (currently under UK Parliamentary scrutiny) which aims to establish a new regulatory framework to address harmful online content. Its main focus is on tackling criminal activity, developing an approach to legal but harmful content and providing safeguards for freedom of expression.