PACE: Motion on minorities and media


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Subject: PACE: Motion on minorities and media

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PACE: Motion on minorities and media


http://stars.coe.fr/doc/doc01/edoc9151.htm

Right of national minorities to create and use their own media in the
Council of Europe member states
Doc. 9151
28 June 2001
  
Motion for a recommendation
presented by Mr Cilevics and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only
the members who have signed it


1. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has always
played a leading role in promotion of the rights of national
minorities in Europe, in particular, in ensuring full respect to
implementation of such a basic human right as the freedom of
expression for all persons belonging to national minorities.  This
attitude was reflected, in particular, in the Assembly's
Recommendation 1277 (1995) on migrants, ethnic minorities and media,
as well as in recently adopted Recommendations 1506 (2001) on freedom
of expression and information in the media in Europe and 1492 (2000)
on rights of national minorities. 

2. Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees
the right to freedom of expression for everybody, without any
discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of language or
affiliation with a national minority.  This right may be restricted
only when necessary to protect legitimate public interest. 

3. The Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities, the first ever legally binding document on
minority rights, stipulates that "in the legal framework of sound
radio and television broadcasting ... [the state parties] shall
ensure, as far as possible, ... that persons belonging to national
minorities are granted the possibility of creating and using their own
media", and that the corresponding licensing system must be
non-discriminatory and based on objective criteria. 

4. Nevertheless, some of the Council of Europe member states still
impose undue restrictions on establishment and operation of private
radio and television broadcasting in minority languages: 

- in Moldova, the Law on Audiovisual Broadcasting of 1995 obliges
private broadcasters to broadcast at least 65% of their audiovisual
programs in the state language.  It should be mentioned that
implementation of this provision was partially liberalised in 2000
after active involvement of the OSCE High Commissioner on National
Minorities; 

- in Romania, the decision of the National Council for Audiovisual
Broadcasting adopted in 1999, made it mandatory to supply all
broadcasts in minority languages, with few exceptions, with subtitles
or translation into Romanian.  However, this regulation was suspended
very soon;

- in Estonia, the Language Act of 1995, while it sets no restrictions
on radio broadcasting, limits the share of television broadcasting in
minority languages not supplied with the translation to Estonian to
only 10% of the volume of weekly original production; 

- in Latvia, the Law on Radio and Television of 1995 restricts the
share of broadcasting in minority languages to 25% of overall daily
broadcasting on both private radio and television; 

- in some other countries, notably in France and Turkey, de jure or de
facto restrictions on media in minority languages have been in force. 

5. These or similar limitations put disproportional burden on private
media in minority languages or even effectively prevent their
establishment.  Furthermore, it is alarming that even more stringent
limitations on the functioning of electronic media in minority
languages are under discussion in some Council of Europe member
states. 

6. Therefore, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers
take the necessary measures to ensure full implementation of the right
of national minorities to create their own media in Council of Europe
member states. 

  
Signed: 

Cilevics, Latvia, SOC 
Aguiar, Portugal, EPP/CD 
Bindig, Germany, SOC 
Bušic, Croatia, EPP/CD 
Dmitrijevas, Lithuania, SOC 
Eörsi, Hungary, LDR 
Gross, Switzerland, SOC 
Hegyi, Hungary, SOC 
Isohookana-Asunmaa, Finland, LDR 
Ivanov, Estonia, SOC 
Laakso, Finland, UEL 
Lippelt, Germany, LDR 
De Puig, Spain, SOC 
Tabajdi, Hungary, SOC 
Wilkinson, United Kingdom, EDG


SOC: Socialist Group 
EPP/CD: Group of the European People's Party 
EDG: European Democratic Group 
LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group 
UEL: Group of the Unified European Left 
NR: not registered in a group 

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