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Propaganda and freedom of speech in Europe

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 15594 | 19 August 2022

Mr Oleksandr MEREZHKO, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Ms Isabel ALVES MOREIRA, Portugal, SOC ; Ms Maryna BARDINA, Ukraine, ALDE ; Ms Larysa BILOZIR, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Pedro CEGONHO, Portugal, SOC ; Mr Artem DUBNOV, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Mr Domagoj HAJDUKOVIĆ, Croatia, SOC ; Ms Maria JUFEREVA-SKURATOVSKI, Estonia, ALDE ; Ms Olena KHOMENKO, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK, Ukraine, ALDE ; Ms Inese LĪBIŅA-EGNERE, Latvia, EPP/CD ; Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Olena MOSHENETS, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Dmytro NATALUKHA, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Mr Paulo PISCO, Portugal, SOC ; Ms Catarina ROCHA FERREIRA, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr Indrek SAAR, Estonia, SOC ; Ms Lesia VASYLENKO, Ukraine, ALDE ; Ms Yelyzaveta YASKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD

It is critically important to distinguish propaganda and freedom of speech in the Council of Europe member States. There should be a clear cut line between freedom of speech as a human right, protected by the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights, on the one hand, and propaganda as a kind of brainwashing, which should be banned, on the other hand.

According to the jurisprudence of the Nuremberg Tribunal (Julius Streicher’s trial), propaganda can be a crime against humanity, if it incites hatred and killings.

According to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, propaganda might lead to genocide and thereby propagandists can be found guilty of inciting genocide.

Some legal systems prohibit propaganda for the war of aggression.

In particular, Russian propaganda is nowadays a dangerous kind of propaganda, which has nothing to do with freedom of speech and freedom of the press in a democratic society.

Russian propaganda during the war against Ukraine constitutes a part of the hybrid war against European democracy and a serious international crime.

In view of this, it is vitally important to develop legal criteria allowing to identify propaganda which should be prohibited in the Council of Europe member States.

The Parliamentary Assembly can offer such criteria for the Council of Europe member States.