The Parliamentary Assembly,
Recognizing the freedom of expression as one of the milestones of the human rights enshrined by the European Convention on Human Rights (art. 10), the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 19) and other relevant international legally binding instruments,
Recalling its Recommendation 1407 (1999) on “Media and democratic culture” and Resolution 1636 (2008) on “Indicators for media in a democracy”,
Noting that the National Strategy for Defense of Romania, recently approved by the Romanian Supreme Council for National Defense, includes media among the main vulnerabilities to national security through “the phenomenon of orchestrated press campaigns aimed at slandering the state’s institutions by disseminating false information about their activity, as well as the pressure exerted by media companies on political decision making with the purpose of securing economic advantages”,
Underlining the importance, for media freedom, of the Johannesburg principles on national security, freedom of expression and access to information, which provide that “no restriction on freedom of expression or information on the ground of national security may be imposed unless the government can demonstrate that the restriction is prescribed by law and is necessary in a democratic society to protect a legitimate national security interest”,
Emphasizes that the narrowly defined circumstances imposing such restrictions should be based solely on internationally recognized principles and standards,
Considers that including the media among the vulnerabilities to national security, as stated in the National Strategy for Defense of Romania, represents a serious threat to the freedom of expression and could serve as a premise for potential future legislative initiatives aiming at weakening media’s criticism.
Considers calling upon the Committee of Ministers to make sure that no reference to the media is included in the National Strategy for Defense of Romania and the freedom of expression is granted by the art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.