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sesiunea APCE: procese-verbale
(Second part)
Fifteenth Sitting
Wednesday 25 April 2012 at 3.30 p.m.
3. The protection of freedom of expression and information on the Internet and online media
THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Clune. I call Mr Corman.
Mr CORMAN (Republic of Moldova) – Dear colleagues, over recent years the new media boom has really disrupted our lives. New media have generated entire social cyber phenomena and have increased enormously communication between people all over the world. They have become an extraordinary resource for freedom of expression and information. It was as impossible for the north African regimes to block the Twitter revolutions as it was for the communist regime in Moldova to prevent what happened in April 2009. Right after those events, the situation of the media in Moldova, including online media, improved significantly. Freedom of speech, political pluralism and free media are among the most visible achievements of the governing Alliance for European Integration. According to Reporters Without Borders, in its 2011 press freedom index, the press in Moldova is more free than in some EU countries. In Moldova today there are 60 television stations and 57 radio stations in operation and more than 200 newspapers being published. In addition, more than 20 news portals operate online and there are many news agencies. According to international reports: “Market entry for media in Moldova is free, non-discriminatory and generally easy”.
The situation was absolutely different only a few years ago when the communists governed. It was quite funny to hear the communists’ leader complaining here on Monday about the revocation of the licence for NIT, its TV channel of communist propaganda, because the communists used to suppress freedom of speech and shut down channels that respected the law and had an objective approach. Now, the Broadcasting Coordinating Council has revoked the NIT licence as a result of repeated and multiple violations of the law, including for lack of pluralism of opinion, incitement to hatred and open propaganda in favour of the Communist party. Despite the fact that the competent authority conducted 13 surveys and applied 11 sanctions to this channel over three years, it has not come more into line with legal requirements.
We are firmly convinced that freedom of expression and freedom of the media are essential for a democratic society. It is necessary to protect users’ freedom of expression and ability to access information on the Internet and online media against threats from public authorities and private companies. Online media represent an enormous resource but also present a range of serious challenges and threats. Child pornography, incitement to racism, hatred, violence and terrorism can sit comfortably in cyberspace. Often the zone of virtual reality is seen as a place in which freedom of expression is unrestricted and responsibility is exempted, but responsibility must be real in this virtual space and freedoms must be exercised within the law. This presents a serious dilemma but as the previous speaker said, we need to find a fair balance. The report clearly highlights the main issues and makes pertinent recommendations. We must adopt efficient instruments in order to face these challenges and protect human rights against any kind of violation or abuse.
THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Corman. The next speaker is Mr Mustafa.
©2011, Moldova Europeana
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