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Public discourse and media

Ahead of human rights day (10 December 2011), Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, launched the publication Human rights and a changing media landscape at a press conference in London, hosted by ARTICLE 19, on Thursday 8 December 2011.

“The defence of all human rights depends on media freedom and pluralism. This makes it urgent to counter government restrictions and monopoly tendencies,” said Thomas Hammarberg at the launch.

The Commissioner invited eight experts to give their personal assessments of six topics and how they relate to human rights: social media; protection of journalists from violence; ethical journalism; access to official documents; public service media; and media pluralism.

In his foreword Thomas Hammarberg highlights the role media plays in exposing human rights violations and in offering an arena for different voices to be heard in public discourse. He argues that public service broadcasting is important to ensure media pluralism and counteract monopolies. He also underlines that every case of violence or threats against a journalist must be promptly and seriously investigated – impunity encourages further murders and has a chilling effect on public debate.

“I hope this book will serve as a spotlight on current challenges. There is a strong need for a serious public debate on media developments and their impact on human rights”, said the Commissioner.