EU Council adopted the Guidelines on freedom of expression online and offline
The new Guidelines on Human Rights adopted by the EU Council on May 12, 2014 are dedicated to the theme of freedom of expression online and offline.
The general objective of the Guidelines is to address unjustified restrictions to freedom of expression, freedom of the media to promote and provide valuable guidance to EU officials and staff around the world. In particular, the Guidelines provide a collection of definitions, which covers all aspects of fundamental rights, including the right to hold opinions without interference, the right to seek and receive information and the right to impart information and ideas of all kinds through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Particular attention is paid to the challenges that innovations in technology ICT (Information and Technology Communucation) have brought. In this context, the EU is firmly opposed to any unjustified restrictions on the Internet and all new media, to ensure that all human rights that exist offline are protected online.
Among the aspects and the most important areas addressed in the Guidelines:
- the fight against violence, persecution, harassment and intimidation, including those against journalists and the media because of the exercise of their right to freedom of expression online and offline;
- the promotion of laws and practices for the protection of freedom of opinion and expression;
- the promotion of media freedom and pluralism;
- the promotion of respect for human rights in cyberspace and other ICT (Information and Communucation Technology);
- the promotion of best practices by companies;
- the promotion of legal practices aimed at strengthening the protection of data and privacy online and offline.
The Guidelines, while not legally binding, provide a strong signal of the importance of the topics discussed between the Union's priorities and provide an useful framework for all European institutions and the Member States for the promotion and protection of human rights in third countries under the common foreign and security policy. The new guidelines are in addition to ten other adopted by the Council of the EU since 1998.
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