Media and terrorism

Doc. 10318
6 October 2004

Motion for a recommendation
presented by Mr Jarab and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

            The recent rise in terrorism across the world has prompted heated debate about the role of the media. Questions have been asked of whether media coverage is not serving the terrorists’ aims of reaching wide audiences with their own messages or even whether it is not the reason why certain terrorist acts are committed. The most shocking images of atrocities have reached the world because of videos shot by the terrorists themselves. The media are now regularly being used to convey messages between politicians and terrorists unwilling or unable to enter into direct dialogue.

            The Assembly is concerned that these developments can easily provide a pretext for introducing restrictions to freedom of information. It is known, also from historical experience, that restricting media coverage would not be a solution to the problem of terrorism. At the same time, however, every new terrorist act poses new challenges to both politicians’ strategies and media deontology. Politicians and media professionals should engage into dialogue in order to find fully democratic solutions to the question of how to provide the public with objective, adequate and useful information of high quality without furthering the interests of terrorist criminals.

            Freedom of information is vital for the democratic development of society. The media provide people with information which influences the process of shaping opinions and attitudes and of making political choices. The Assembly recalls in this respect its recommendations 1407 (1999) on media and democratic culture, 1506 (2001) on freedom of expression and information in the media in Europe and 1589 (2003) on freedom of expression in the media in Europe.

            The Assembly welcomes the ongoing work on a Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on freedom of expression and information in the context of the fight against terrorism.

            The Assembly recommends that the issue of media and terrorism becomes a priority for the future work of the Council of Europe in the media field.

Signed [1]:
JARAB, Josef, Czech Republic, LDR
BAŠKA, Jaroslav, Slovakia, SOC
de PUIG I OLIV�, Llu�s Maria, Spain, SOC
E�RSI, M�ty�s, Hungary, LDR
HOOPER, United Kingdom, EDG
JAKIC, Roman, Slovenia, LDR
JASKIERNIA, Jerzy, Poland, SOC
KAIKKONEN, Antti, Finland, LDR
KROUPA, František, Czech Republic, EPP/CD
LEGENDRE, Jacques, France, EPP/CD
LOBKOWICZ, Jaroslav, Czech Republic, EPP/CD
MARTY, Dick, Switzerland, LDR
MOONEY, Paschal, Ireland, LDR
TOSHEV, Latchezar, Bulgaria, EPP/CD



Socialist Group
Group of the European People’s Party
European Democratic Group
Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
Group of the Unified European Left
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