The ministers of states participating in the 1st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and New Communications Services, held in Reykjavik on 28 and 29 May 2009, adopted a resolution which began:
“Fundamental rights and Council of Europe standards and values apply to online information and communication services as much as they do to the offline world. This stems, inter alia, from Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights whereby member states undertake “to secure to everyone in their jurisdiction” the rights and freedoms protected by the Convention [without the online/offline distinction...]”
The Parliamentary Assembly recalls that the Committee of Ministers, on 21 October 2009, “invited, in particular the Steering Committee on Media and Communications…to give priority attention…to the elaboration of legal instruments designed [i] to preserve or reinforce the protection of the cross-border flow of Internet traffic and [ii] to protect resources which are critical for the ongoing functioning and borderless nature and integrity of the Internet”.
The Assembly therefore welcomes the challenges issued by ministers at Reykjavik and by the Committee of Ministers, in particular “to make more lasting arrangements for dialogue on Internet governance”.
The Assembly resolves to analyse and discuss with other stakeholders the best way to advance the project of securing in Europe conditions for the development of the Internet, which includes respect for the values and standards of the Council of Europe on human rights, democracy and the rule of law; the protection of the cross-border flow of Internet traffic, the critical resources for the functioning and integrity of the internet and the protection of the legitimate interests of users of the Internet.
This analysis and discussion will consider, among other issues, whether the most appropriate way forward is the elaboration of a Convention on internet governance.