Parliament publishes recommendations on freedom of expression and freedom of the press
The Parliament of the French Community of Belgium (also called the Parliament of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels) is currently holding its ‘States General of the Information Media’ (‘Etats généraux des médias d’information’), during which various media players and experts come together with politicians and policy makers, in order to identify the most urgent questions for the Belgian (French-language) media. The discussions focus on possible strategies to improve the economic situation of the media; the education, training and working conditions of journalists; and the regulatory framework on freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The concluding report on freedom of expression and press freedom has just been published. The text of the report and the recommendations formulated by the experts is available for download here.
Bart Van Besien has testified before the Parliament's Committee and is referred to at various instances in the final report and recommendations.
The report and its recommendations focus on various aspects of media policy, including (i) the constitutional rules on freedom of the press (and the distinction made in the Belgian Constitution between print media and other media such as audiovisual broadcasts and internet-based media); (ii) the distinction between traditional media and citizen media; (iii) the controversy whether 'press offences' should be open to criminal persecutions or should be limited to civic proceedings; (iv) the various limits to freedom of expression (incl. as regards the moderation of internet forums and as regards hate speech); (v) the right of reply and of rectification; (vi) the protection of journalistic sources; (vii) the controversy surrounding claims to a right to be forgotten; (viii) the rules for journalism ethics and self-regulation ; (ix) the balance between freedom of expression and the right to privacy; (x) the relations between the media and the courts; and finally (xi) the relationship between freedom of expression and copyright (author's right).
Author: Bart Van Besien
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