The Council of Europe today adopted policy guidelines addressed to its 47 member states on the roles and responsibilities of internet intermediaries such as search engines and social media.
The power of such intermediaries as protagonists of online expression is such that their role and impact on human rights, as well as their corresponding responsibilities, should be clarified.
In its Recommendation on the roles and responsibilities of internet intermediaries, the Committee of Ministers – the executive body of the organisation- therefore calls on states to provide a human rights and rule of law-based framework that lays out the main obligations of the states with respect to the protection and promotion of human rights in the digital environment, and the respective responsibilities of intermediaries.
The recommendation calls on states to create a safe and enabling online environment where intermediaries, users and all affected parties know their rights and duties, to encourage the development of appropriate self- and co-regulatory frameworks, and to ensure the availability of redress mechanisms for all claims of violations of human rights in the digital environment.
It also underlines the importance of more transparency being introduced in all processes of content moderation. Media and literacy programmes should be promoted to enable users to enjoy the benefits of the online environment, while minimising their exposure to risks.
Published on COE on March 7, 2018
A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury. Examples of civil rights are freedom of speech, press, and assembly; the right to vote; freedom from involuntary servitude; and the right to equality in public places. Discrimination occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of their membership in a particular group or class. Various jurisdictions have enacted statutes to prevent discrimination based on a person's race, sex, religion, age, previous condition of servitude, physical limitation, national origin, and in some instances sexual orientation.
Source: Cornell University Law School