In the public interest

 

IRIS Themes - Vol. II - Freedom of Expression and the Media: Standard-setting by the Council of Europe (II) Parliamentary Assembly

Authors: European Audiovisual Observatory

Published: 01/12/2011

This e-book provides valuable insights into the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on freedom of expression and the media. It summarises the many positions adopted by the PACE since June 1995 in no less than 49 official documents designed to guide the member states of the Council of Europe. It also provides direct access to each of those official documents.  More


IRIS Themes - Vol. I - Freedom of Expression and the Media: Standard-setting by the Council of Europe (I) Committee of Ministers

Authors: European Audiovisual Observatory

Published: 01/12/2011

This e-book provides valuable insights into the work of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on freedom of expression and the media. It summarises the many principles and normative requirements adopted by the Council since November 1994 in no less than 57 official documents designed to guide the member states of the Council of Europe. It also provides direct access to each of those official documents.  More


IRIS Plus 2011-6: Limits to the Use of Personal Data

Authors: Alexander Scheuer and Sebastian Schweda, Institute for European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

Published: 01/10/2011

At the end of September, Facebook announced a plan to extend their service in order to, as it stated, enable users to create a “Life Archive” and thus offer an unlimited number of “friends” all the details and events of their own lives at the click of a mouse. Who would have thought twenty years ago that this project would on no account be understood as a continuation of Orwell’s 1984 but as an offer of a service and business model to be taken seriously? And who would have assumed at that time that, in the light of this and similar services, we would one day be discussing whether and how it would still be possible to exercise control over electronically available personal data? The answer might be that the founding fathers of the European Convention on Human Rights at least considered questions like these to be possible, since there are subjects that lead us to face challenges that date back a long way despite being dressed up in new clothes. In the context of personal data, the answer consists in finding a meaningful balance between the rights to freedom of information and freedom of expression on the one hand and the protection of the personality and the private sphere on the other, and it is these conflicting interests that the Convention has always clearly had in mind.  More


IRIS Plus 2011-5: Why Discuss Network Neutrality?

Authors: Nico van Eijk, Institute for Information Law (IViR), Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam

Published: 01/09/2011

The freedom to receive and impart information is guaranteed by Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe. As is the case for exercising other fundamental freedoms, the mere recognition of the freedom of expression does not mean that citizens are in a position to enjoy it. For that to happen, they need to be able to communicate with each other, which in the modern world can be made possible through a wide array of communications outlets including the Internet. The European Audiovisual Observatory examines questions related to the exercise of freedom of expression regarding their importance for audiovisual media. In the context of the Internet, this means, for example, looking at the many audiovisual media services that use broadband capacity to reach the consumer or, conversely, at the content that Internet users self-generate and post on Internet platforms. Obviously, the receiving or imparting of content offered by or to audiovisual media services via the Internet presupposes access to communication networks. Whenever such access is restricted we will find somebody to diagnose an impact on the exercise of freedom of expression. Whether this diagnosis is correct and, if this were to be the case, whether the impact qualifi es as undue interference with the freedom of expression is one question discussed under the notion of “network neutrality”. It is the very issue looming in the background of this IRIS plus.  More


IRIS Plus 2011-3: Media Literacy

Authors: Tarlach McGonagle, Institute for Information Law (IViR), Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam

Published: 01/05/2011

Continuous learning is a well established concept to guarantee that graduation from school or university does not mark the end of studying the subjects related to one’s profession. The more an area of knowledge is apt to change the bigger the need to stay on one’s toes. Training on the job is certainly another way to handle the challenge but depending on the sophistication of the issues it may turn out to be a dead end.  More


IRIS Plus 2011-2: An Insight into Selected Film Funding Systems

Authors: Christian M. Bron and Peter Matzneller, Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

Published: 01/04/2011

Film aid is not only designed to promote creativity, but it can also be remarkably creative itself in terms of the way it is organised. This is presumably linked to the fact that the definition of common film aid objectives, such as the protection and promotion of cultural diversity and identity or state support for the national film industry, remains rather vague. What is culture? What is diversity? What is the basis of cultural identity? What exactly should and can state subsidies achieve? These questions are wrestled with first of all when the objectives of public film aid are defined. But they must also be answered whenever a decision on the distribution of national and European funding is taken on the basis of these objectives. The real challenge therefore lies in the need to lay down conditions for the granting of aid in advance, so that the decisions taken on that basis are at least practicable and help to achieve the objectives set out.  More


IRIS Plus 2011-1: A Landmark for Mass Media in Russia

Authors: Andrei Richter, Moscow Media Law and Policy Centre

Published: 06/02/2011

When on 15 June 2010 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation adopted Resolution No. 16 “On the Judicial Practice Related to the Statute of the Russian Federation ‘On the Mass Media’”, the first international voice applauding this step was that of Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, who called it a “landmark resolution” and “a commendable effort to bring Russian court practice in line with international media freedom standards”.  More


IRIS Plus 2010-6: Switchover to the Digital Dividend

Authors: David Korteweg & Tarlach McGonagle, Institute for Information Law (IViR), Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam

Published: 01/12/2010

Like Siamese twins, the switchover to digital television is inseparable from the spectrum liberated as a result of the process. The twin of the switchover is called digital dividend. If we look closer at these twins, we realize that they are non-identical, as far as at least one important point is concerned. Whereas lots of facts and figures are being collected to document how countries are moving from analogue to digital television, much less information seems available on how they might wish to, or are obliged to, use the resulting digital dividend. Admittedly, when it comes to describing developments concerning the digitization of television the usable data are significantly more concrete than they are regarding policies for the digital dividend. And it is these policies that are decisive for determining the use of the freed up spectrum. Tracking policies becomes easier, however, if we take stock of existing legal frameworks within which these policies are being developed. This IRIS plus deals, in its Lead Article, with the rules and regulations currently determining the possible uses of the digital dividend, while its Related Reporting and its Zoom section provide legal and market information relevant to the implementation of digital television.  More


IRIS Plus 2010-4: Public Service Media: Money for Content

Authors: Christian M. Bron, Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

Published: 01/06/2010

There have been many public statements on the funding of public service broadcasting and the expectations associated with it. As far as the European Union is concerned, mention might be made of the Communication from the Commission of 27 October 2009 on the application of state aid rules to public service broadcasting (OJ C 257, pp. 1–14) or in the case of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers’ reply of 21 April 2010 welcoming the Parliamentary Assembly’s Recommendation 1878 (2009) on the funding of public service broadcasting.  More


IRIS Plus 2010-2: Digital Cinema

Authors: Francisco Javier Cabrera Blázquez, European Audiovisual Observatory

Published: 01/04/2010

The European cinema of the near future will be digital. This much seems to be agreed upon by anyone who has a say in the matter. But the road there requires special efforts and may indeed be long and winding. This IRIS plus asks where we stand in the roll-out of digital cinema and it does so with regard to the legal framework as well as the digital cinema market. Do European countries invest enough in the digitisation of their cinemas to make the digital revolution happen? Do their support schemes comply with legal re quirements? Are all risks for the cinema market identified and correctly assessed? What will the digital revolution me an for the various players? For example, is there a danger that small cinemas might disappear? What other legal issues need to be considered in order to make digital cinema an economic and legal reality.  More


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