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M. Cole and R. Kies appointed to Council of Europe expert committee

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Published on Friday, 07 February 2020

Two members of the University of Luxembourg have been appointed to the Committee of Experts on Media Environment and Reform of the Council of Europe: Prof. Mark D. Cole from the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance and Dr. Raphaël Kies from the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.

The newly established body is tasked with preparing a series of recommendations and guiding principles on specific topics. Among others, they are related to the risks associated with the societal shift from established media channels to social media, election communication and media coverage of electoral campaigns, as well as policy/regulatory requirements related to the prioritisation of public interest content on relevant social and search platforms and other news aggregators. The Committee will also propose recommendations on freedom of expression and information.

The Committee comprises thirteen members including representatives from seven European Union Member States and six independent experts, each demonstrating recognised expertise in the fields of freedom of expression and both online and offline media policy.

Prof. Cole specialises in Media Law with a research emphasis on the law concerning online services and platforms as well as European Media Law. “I am honoured to join the Committee of Experts on Media Environment and Reform and to have the opportunity to help shape future public policy in these topics which have quickly become so relevant to our modern lives. It fits perfectly to the research I am currently undertaking, concerning the future regulatory approach of the EU to the ’platform world’ and the work for the Council of Europe will allow an even broader approach both geographically and content-wise. The way media and communication work today has even departed significantly from the situation a decade ago and the regulation of the sector will have to follow,” he comments.

Prof. Cole has worked closely with the Council of Europe through the European Audiovisual Observatory which issues regular reports – most recently on co- and self-regulation in the media sector. Prof. Cole appreciates the important work in strengthening democratic and human rights principles in all its Member States.

Raphaël Kies holds a PhD from the European University Institute, Italy, and is researcher for political science at the University of Luxembourg. He works on topics related to democratic innovations, electoral studies and media studies. He is responsible for the “Media Pluralism Monitor” of Luxembourg and is part of a broad network aiming to define the role of (social) media in a deliberative eco-system. He is also member of the Board of Governors of the national public radio 100.7 and member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Luxembourg.

As member of the Committee of experts on media environment and reform of the Committee of Experts, he will contribute to the regulation of (social) media. “All studies show that citizens increasingly use online news and social media as source of information. This is particularly the case during the electoral period and for the young generations. While this evolution dramatically broadens the spectrum of available information, it also presents numerous dangers for the independence, plurality and reliability of information. It will be the objective of the experts to propose norms and regulations to the member states aimed at solving these multiple and complex challenges,” Kies explains.

Find out more about how the European Council protects and promotes human rights on their website.