Archive item

Title: Declaration on freedom of political debate in the media
Other/original title:
Publisher: Council of Europe
Files: Decl-12.02.2004E.doc
Abstract: This declaration, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 12 February 2004 at the 872nd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies, draws attention to a set of eight principles that should govern the dissemination of information and opinions in the media about political figures and public officials. First among them is that being a pluralist democracy entails that the public is informed about matters of public concern, and that this includes the right of the media to disseminate negative information and critical opinions concerning political figures and public officials, as well as the right of the public to receive them. The state, the government or any other institution of the executive, legislative or judicial branch, principle II adds, may be subject to criticism in the media; and principle III adds furthermore that political figures are subject to close public scrutiny and potentially robust and strong public criticism through the media. The further principles assert i.a. particular leeway for humor and satire, and provide for limited protections of the privacy of political figures and public officials. Political figures and public officials should only have access to those legal remedies against the media which private individuals also have, the last principle concludes, and any resulting damages, fines or sentences for defamation or insult should be strictly proportionate.
Publication/ adoption date: 2004-02-12
Language: English