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Creation of the position of «Internet Ombudsman» in charge of assessing the legal or illegal nature of internet contents through screening procedures

Motion for a recommendation | Doc. 14243 | 24 January 2017

Mr André REICHARDT, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Sérgio AZEVEDO, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Ms Theodora BAKOYANNIS, Greece, EPP/CD ; Ms Regina BASTOS, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr José CEPEDA, Spain, SOC ; Mr Telmo CORREIA, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Ms Marie-Christine DALLOZ, France, EPP/CD ; Ms Edite ESTRELA, Portugal, SOC ; Mr Bernard FOURNIER, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Carlos Alberto GONÇALVES, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr Antonio GUTIÉRREZ, Spain, SOC ; Ms Françoise HETTO-GAASCH, Luxembourg, EPP/CD ; Ms Lotta JOHNSSON FORNARVE, Sweden, UEL ; Mr Pierre-Yves LE BORGN', France, SOC ; Mr Luís LEITE RAMOS, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Ms Ana Catarina MENDES, Portugal, SOC ; Ms Soraya RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS, Spain, SOC ; Ms Idália SERRÃO, Portugal, SOC ; Mr Adão SILVA, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr Manuel TORNARE, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Konstantinos TZAVARAS, Greece, EPP/CD

Freedom of speech can be restricted in certain cases.

According to the «Guiding principles on business and Human rights», the legitimate demand for Internet stakeholders, whether they host, broadcast or make available contents on the web, to be held responsible for their activities is increasing.

The “Right to be forgotten” ruling given by the Court of Justice of the European Union on 13 May 2014 exemplifies the growing pressure on web stakeholders.

Yet legal instruments are silent on the means to be used in order to assess whether a complaint about de-referencing, erasure or access blocking is justified or not. This legal void can also be observed in cases related to radical, hate inciting or discriminating speeches.

The Committee of Ministers should therefore start working on the wording of a Convention which would, on the one hand, create the position of «Internet Ombudsman», on a national level, in charge of dealing with the complaints of web stakeholders about de-referencing, erasure or access blocking of a content or an URL accessible on a platform, a search engine, etc.; and on the other hand, foster international co-operation by establishing rules enabling the “Decision” made by a national Ombudsman to be validated and implemented in other national jurisdictions. This Convention would set the necessary rules for the validation and the implementation of these “Decisions” abroad.