“Attacks on journalists and media professionals, and the impunity with which such crimes are committed, should be deemed as attacks on democracy itself,” stated Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga in her speech. She stressed the key role played by journalists and media professionals in a functioning democracy and criticised the deterioration with regard to the safety of media professionals in Europe during the pandemic.
In line with the Council of Europe’s recommendations, Federal Councillor Sommaruga announced Switzerland’s intention to develop a national action plan to protect media professionals. She also acknowledged the important work of the Council of Europe in protecting freedom of expression and the freedom of the media in the digital age.
Under the heading of ‘Artificial Intelligence – Intelligent Politics’, ministers from the 47 member states of the Council of Europe discussed the changes to the media landscape brought about by digitalisation, and subsequently adopted a political declaration and four resolutions addressing issues such as the impact of AI products and services on freedom of expression, the key role played by online media intermediaries, the safety of media professionals, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on freedom of expression. The Ministerial Conference was organised by the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI), in which Switzerland is represented by the Federal Office of Communications.
Switzerland became a member of the Council of Europe in 1963, 14 years after the organisation was founded. The Council of Europe is pan-European organisation with 47 member states.
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