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Council of Europe marks Human Rights Day 2009

The Council of Europe marked International Human Rights Day on December 10 with a fresh call to combat racism and discrimination across Europe and to protect freedom of expression on the Internet. Watch the first edition of the CoE's web TV programme "Viewpoint", with panelists including AEJ Media Freedom Representative William Horsley. (The AEJ is a partner in the Council of Europe's campaign against discrimination in the media and society, the main theme of Human Rights Day 2009).

“We should fight crime, including on the internet, but not at the expense of freedom of expression”

Kristian Bartholin, Deputy Secretary to the Cybercrime Convention, encapsulated the general opinion of the participants of the first edition of Viewpoint, Europe’s first Human Rights talk show. The inaugural edition of the programme, produced by the Council of Europe to mark Human Rights Day, focused on the internet, and how our human rights can be abused online.

The discussion began around children’s rights and how this vulnerable group can easily be victimized through online grooming and dissemination of child pornography. On set to discuss these issues were Gwendolyn Albert, a long-time human rights activist based in the Czech Republic, and Kristian Bartholin of the Council of Europe.

The presenter, Kattia Hernandez, opposed the idea of a greater need for control of the internet to the concept that it is a space of freedom. As Tim Berners-Lee, speaking from the Internet Governance Forum in Egypt says about his creation, the World Wide Web “If it were to be managed or controlled or spied on by one party, that would be the end of it”

The second part of the programme focused on this issue, with Lee Hibbard reinforcing the Council of Europe’s position that freedom of expression is the most important underlying theme behind the Council of Europe’s work on Internet legislation, notably the Cybercrime Convention and the Convention against the Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse of Children.

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