June 1, 2009, Reykjavík – The need to prepare the public for the challenges of the new forms of media and social communication tools was the overarching topic of the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Council of Europe on the media, organized in Reykjavík, Iceland, on 28-29 May. The participants – representatives of the ministries responsible for media and new communication services, media developers, practitioners of the media, representatives of the media industry, freedom of expression activists and academics – discussed the new notion of media in the context of the technological development and globalization. They analyzed the impact of new media on the freedom of expression and information and explored the opportunity of new regulations. They also acknowledged the place of the community media in increasing the social participation to the public debate.
While some participants expressed their concern for the evasive nature of the Internet and the potential dilution of editorial values and control entailed by the transformation of the former media consumers in content generators, the majority agreed that new regulations for the Internet would be hard to implement and enforce, given the global and fluid nature of the medium. Therefore, only endowing the “content generators and consumers” with sufficient knowledge and tools to gather, interpret and valorize information would secure a proper protection of the human rights in the environment created by the new media.
At the Reykjavík meeting the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media was represented Ioana Avadani, director of the Center for Independent Journalism, Bucharest. The sessions of the ministerial conference are available in video webcast on www.ministerialconference.is