Council of Europe Ministerial Conference

  • June 11, 2021

On 10 and 11 June, Flemish Minister of Brussels, Youth and Media, Benjamin Dalle, took part in a (virtual) Ministerial Conference of the Council of Europe. The theme of the Conference was: “Artificial intelligence – Intelligent politics: Challenges and opportunities for media and democracy”.

The aim of the Conference was to agree on action required to address the radical changes in the media and information environment brought on by massive digitalisation, with dramatic effects for the exercise of freedom of expression and substantial impact on other human rights and freedoms.

Ministers turned their attention to the dangerous backsliding in the area of safety of journalists and discussed ways to reinforce the resilience of human rights protection frameworks for due respect of the cornerstone role of freedom of expression in democratic societies and for full engagement of its potential in times of crisis.

During his intervention, Minister Dalle spoke up for protecting local media platforms. He also explicitly mentioned the Flemish recovery plan in which a lot of attention is paid to the (freedom of the) media and the challenges they face, whether or not reinforced by the consequences of the pandemic. Also the problem of disinformation and misinformation and hate speech cannot be sufficiently acknowledged. The Minister therefore advocated the development of digital tools to help journalists detect fake news, but also to promote further awareness among both journalists and citizens in detecting false information. He also spoke about a possible, future and reliable European content cloud to which all European media companies will hopefully one day have equal access.

The ministerial conference resulted in the adoption of a final statement and four resolutions addressing these important issues. These instruments will secure the political engagement of the Council of Europe and its Member States for a number of priority actions.

© photo: Raad van Europa