Today, human rights, democracy and the rule of law are challenged by post-truth narratives, which are unfortunately gaining strength and public support. At the same time, the concentration and lack of transparency of media ownership hamper true media pluralism, and recurrent attempts to manipulate public opinion undermine constructive public debate. In this alarming context, people are losing their entitlement to a free and conscious self-determination, and public trust in media and democratic institutions is declining.
The Parliamentary Assembly should leave no space for resignation to these threats. It should call for the recognition and effective safeguard of “the people’s right to know”, to secure legitimate, transparent and accountable policy, and decision-making processes at all levels of governance. It should encourage innovative partnerships between policy makers, media outlets and journalists committed to producing quality information and to upholding critical thinking.
Based on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and relevant recommendations of the Committee of Ministers, including among others CM/Rec(2018)2 on the roles and responsibilities of internet intermediaries, and CM/Rec(2018)1 on media pluralism and transparency of media ownership, the Assembly should provide guidelines on the development of a set of mutually reinforcing instruments – in which freedom of information, the right to access information of public interest, media freedom and quality journalism, but also a cultural and education system capable to uphold cultural democracy, should be pivotal – enabling an informed people’s participation to the public life of their communities.