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Recommendation 747 (1975)

Press concentrations

Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly

Origin - Assembly debate on 23 January 1975 (19th Sitting) (see Doc. 3536, report of the Political Affairs Committee). Text adopted by the Assembly on 23 January 1975 (19th Sitting).

The Assembly,

1. Recalling its Resolution 534 (1972), on press concentrations ;
2. Welcoming Resolution (74) 43, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 16 December 1974, at the conclusion of the substantial and remarkable work accomplished by the Committee of Experts on Press Concentrations ;
3. Reiterating its concern at the potential or actual threat to diversity in the press resulting from the sharing of the market by a diminishing number of newspapers or newspaper groups ;
4. Convinced that diversity in the press, as a fundamental component of freedom of expression, is a prerequisite for a democratic political system ;
5. Noting that the present economic juncture is producing particularly adverse effects on the state of the press, threatening the financial viability of all newspapers and the very survival of the weaker ones, and that therefore measures of public aid to the press may become more necessary ;
6. Urging, in this context, the need to avoid arbitrary exclusion from governmental aid programmes of periodicals published by opposition forces ;
7. Believing, however, that the predicament of the press can and must be remedied also with measures other than mere economic aid, and that in this respect the Council of Europe has a role to play in order to ensure co-ordination on the European level in the light of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights ;
8. Having considered the report of its Political Affairs Committee (Doc. 3536),
9. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers :
draw the attention of the governments of the member states to the importance that both the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly attach to the full implementation, within a short time, of the whole set of measures envisaged in Resolution (74) 43 ;
consider the possibility of supporting national measures of economic assistance with measures taken at the European level such as
a. the drafting of a model statute for newspaper editorial staff, guaranteeing the freedom of expression and information, with particular regard to the attempt by the ownership or trade unions to control the editorial staff ;
b. the definition of the requirements of a responsible information policy in a democratic society ;
c. the establishment of an information centre within the Council of Europe on the facts of the situation of press concentrations, which should : gather and divulge such information concerning each member country ; continue observation and analysis of the trend towards press concentrations, including analysis of the evolution of the relationship between written and audio-visual information ; establish close co-operation with press bodies and associations, with a view to :
making the press aware of all the means available for improving the situation by its own efforts ;
making the public aware of the problems raised by press concentrations.