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Wednesday, 12 June 2013 - Strasbourg Revised edition

17. Freedom of press and media in the world - Annual Report on human rights and democracy in the world 2012 and the European Union's policy on the matter - Promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief
Video of the speeches

  Πρόεδρος. - Το επόμενο σημείο στην ημερήσια διάταξη είναι η κοινή συζήτηση για τα Ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα, τη δημοκρατία, την ελευθερία του Τύπου και των ΜΜΕ στον κόσμο, επί:

- της εκθέσεως της Marietje Schaake, εξ ονόματος της Επιτροπής Εξωτερικών Υποθέσεων, σχετικά με την Ελευθερία του τύπου και των μέσων ενημέρωσης ανά τον κόσμο [2011/2081(INI)] (A7-0176/2013), και

- της εκθέσεως της Laima Liucija Andrikienė, εξ ονόματος της Επιτροπής Εξωτερικών Υποθέσεων, που περιέχει πρόταση σύστασης του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου προς το Συμβούλιο σχετικά με το σχέδιο κατευθυντήριων γραμμών της ΕΕ για την προαγωγή και την προστασία της ελευθερίας θρησκείας ή πεποιθήσεων [2013/2082(INI)] (A7-0203/2013)


  Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative. − Madam President, I have said many times in this House that human rights should be the silver thread that runs through the statements and actions of the European Union.

Over the last twelve months, thanks in no small part to Stavros Lambrinidis, who is sitting beside me, and the External Action Service team led by Mara Marinaki, we have made significant reforms in our approach, our initiatives and our actions on human rights.

Last year we adopted our Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, agreed unanimously by Member States and supported by this Parliament through its high-level Contact Group on Human Rights.

Today we have a human rights focal point officer in every EU delegation, as well as a Brussels-based working group in the Council. We have fully developed human rights country strategies and a much stronger annual report, which allows Parliament and civil society to measure our performance against our commitments.

The substantial restructuring of the report makes it a much more effective tool for our ongoing work and, specifically, it responds to the request of Parliament by following the structure of the action plan and highlighting concrete achievements and challenges.

The report also demonstrates the steps we have taken to increase our interinstitutional cooperation and our policy coherence, visibility and effectiveness across our work. We have made significant progress in these areas.

I want like to highlight a few things. First of all, the appointment of the first EU Special Representative for human rights, under your guidance and my mandate. I would like to pay tribute to his energy, commitment and determination. He has worked with over a hundred ministers and ambassadors across the world and worked closely with you and with teams on the ground to raise the profile of human rights. He has also worked closely with civil society in Europe and in other countries, and helped to secure really important changes.

The protection of NGOs and human rights defenders is a core priority for both Stavros and for me. He is actively engaged with over 150 international and local NGOs from 30 countries to safeguard their space to function freely and to promote our support. I want to thank him most warmly and look forward to many more achievements in the future.

Stavros knows better than anyone that the support that we give is not just financial, but also political, legal and diplomatic. In that regard I would like to underline how tremendously important Parliament’s Sakharov prize is.

There is no question that 2012 was a challenging year for civil society in so many countries. There is a worrying trend that parliamentarians here have spotted to limit the space – through legislation, court action and restrictions – of civil society, particularly with regard to foreign funding. I believe that safeguarding the work of civil society is fundamental to the work of the European Union. I believe that safeguarding freedom of association and peaceful assembly has to stay at the top of our agenda.

I have expressed our concerns about these developments in statements, but also in person. I will continue to do so and, with the support and help of Stavros and the work of our delegations, we will continue to try to ensure that civil society is given the space its needs and that governments – old, new, transitional or permanent – understand that this is fundamental to the perception of them and fundamental to the kind of society they wish to create. NGOs and civil society make governments and politicians uncomfortable. That exactly is what they are supposed to do: to push the boundaries, to watch over the way governments work and to get under their skin.

In 2012 we also saw the great difficulty faced by many who seek to practice their faith and have the freedom of their belief, or none. We make it clear this is an inalienable human right and an essential pillar of society. It is an integral part of our political dialogue with third countries. I have spoken out to condemn religious intolerance and discrimination, whether in Egypt, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, Tunisia or elsewhere. Be in no doubt that our aim in speaking is to achieve results. We know, for example, that the statements made in Tripoli contributed to the release of Egyptian Christians held in Libya.

The importance of this issue is why we wanted our new guidelines and why we have consulted widely to make sure that they have a strong and clear content. I am extremely grateful again to the Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights for their valuable input.

I very much welcome the Andrikienė report. I trust that many of the recommendations will be reflected in the final version of the guidelines, which will be adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 24 June.

I have also been extremely worried about the discrimination in some countries based on sexual orientation or gender identity. As you know, we have contributed to multilateral efforts, especially in the UN, as well as at regional and bilateral level. Here too, we have developed practical EU guidelines to be adopted this month by the Council, which should reinforce the work of the European Union.

We have raised our deep concerns with Uganda and Cameroon about proposed parliamentary bills further criminalising homosexuality. In Malawi we have spoken out against the prison sentences for gay couples and against recent events in Nigeria. We use our regular dialogues to raise this discrimination and to promote tolerance, supporting campaigns in Russia, Croatia, Turkey, Montenegro and Brazil to support local and international NGOs in campaigns against discrimination. I thank this House for your input. If I may single out Michael Cashman, I will do so for his tireless efforts.

When we look at our changing world, I also continue to be concerned about what is happening to women and girls. Honourable Members in this House know that no society can function well and no economy do as well as it should without the input of the rich talent and ability of half its population – women and girls.

I was really pleased that we saw the successful adoption of conclusions at the recent 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. But let me say that this was not easy. Some countries tried to water down the unconditional condemnation of violence against women through appeals to domestic traditions, laws and cultures. It was the tireless work of our EU delegations that was largely responsible for the defeat of those attempts. We are united in our belief that there are no acceptable circumstances for violence against women and no place where the failure to allow girls to be educated is acceptable. No society can hold its head up where women are forced to keep their heads down.

So we continue our strong engagement in the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325, with support to the tune of EUR 200 million a year for the development and implementation of national action plans, funding for NGOs and training. We strengthened our commitment further with a memorandum of understanding with UN Women that forms the basis of a partnership to help us make progress in our international commitments. I am so grateful for Parliament’s strong support in this area.

I must mention too the focus on freedom of the press and media in the report by Ms Schaake and welcome it very much. The increased violence against journalists and restrictions on press freedom in many countries, including our neighbours, must be challenged. We condemn attacks on journalists and bloggers and are developing our own guidelines to use in our work in delegations and in our teams in Brussels. The Commission is already implementing a pilot project, mandated by the European Parliament, on a European centre for press and media freedom. The territorial scope will now cover the EU 27, Croatia and candidate countries.

We also continue with our campaign against the death penalty. I congratulate all those involved in the extensive lobbying which played a pivotal role in the success of the UN General Assembly 67 resolution. It was adopted with an unprecedented 111 votes in favour and a record 91 sponsors. We should rightly take some of the credit for that.

Our revised guidelines further refine all aspects of our policy and pull together all of our available diplomatic action. During 2012 and the first part of this year, I issued 54 statements on the death penalty: on breaches of existing moratoriums in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan and Gambia, on persistent executions in Iran, Saudi Arabia and China and on violations of minimum standards in the United States, Malaysia and Singapore. During the same period I instructed our delegations to carry out 30 démarches reiterating our position and calling on authorities to refrain from executions. We will continue to push and press for universal abolition.

There are new challenges and existing challenges: supporting countries going through transitions, helping them to refrain from restricting human rights and to see that it was for those rights that people have fought and tragically died, working with countries who describe themselves as ‘developing’ so that they develop the right approach to human rights, and, most of all, reminding everyone that for human rights to apply to them, there is only one criterion, which is to be human.


  Marietje Schaake, rapporteur. − Madam President, Madam High Representative, Special Representative, colleagues, I am glad we are here together to discuss this important topic.

In Syria, over 150 journalists have been murdered over the past two and a half years. The violence makes it nearly impossible to report independently on the violence and the war. Only this week in Turkey, which has more journalists in prison than any other country in the world, the President stated that social media are more dangerous than a bomb and regulators fined media for ‘inciting hatred’.

These actions speak volumes about the power of the free word. In Iran, in the run-up to the elections, the media and internet have been restricted even more than we deemed possible. In Russia, the government has granted itself authority to use deep packet inspections of the internet. Journalists and bloggers have been murdered and beaten up. Intimidation is hardly investigated. In China, an estimated 30 000 people work on monitoring micro-blogging sites and adjusting the terms of censorship, some of which have been set technologically to make sure no search results are found when looking for information on, for example, Tiananmen Square.

These countries are not at all unique in their repression of media and journalists. There are many countries where governments are using anti-terrorism and other national security laws to repress. Other problems are political interference through public media budgets, tax fines, or when politicians are owners of ever-growing media conglomerates. Of course media are still used for outright propaganda as well.

The criminalisation of speech, such as through blasphemy laws, libel and restricting ‘homosexual propaganda’, is also worrying.

The EU as a community of values should aspire to lead in ensuring that the free word, whether blogged or spoken, and information, whether research or photographs, are protected.

Journalists and free pluralist media are essential for checks on power; and a focus on neighbouring countries is natural. By improving coordination between the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DEVCO) and the External Action Service, we can achieve stronger results and impacts globally. We must mainstream press freedom in all our policies on election observations, democracy, neighbourhood policy, trade and development programmes.

The programmes we have should be deployed more effectively, but new ones are also necessary. Journalists facing trial should be able to rely on our know-how and on a legal defence fund.

The end goal in all of our programmes should be that people do not depend on EU funding but that programmes can run independently, that local capacity is built to stay. We must engage both at government level and at local and civil society levels. Indeed the private sector also has a role to play to foster open societies.

We call on businesses to take their responsibility. With growing digitisation, the public value of information must be preserved. Self-regulation and privatising of policing and law enforcement on line are dangerous. At the same time we see opportunities in the empowerment of individuals who, through social media, can access information, assemble and speak freely. Citizen journalism makes us eye-witnesses to events as they unfold.

In order to ensure our own independence in this Parliament and to make sure that the rankings of countries are not politicised, we have not mentioned countries explicitly in this report but instead we have addressed trends and problems faced and we have focused on concrete solutions.

But the assessment on the country-by-country situation is left to the combined work of four NGOs and the work of them you will find in the annexes. It will be updated on a rolling basis and I want to thank them for their work, as well as the shadow rapporteurs. We have worked very well as a team and it has been great to receive input from stakeholders, journalists, bloggers and people all over the world on an online draft that has certainly made the work of this report and the content of this report more relevant on the ground.

It is closely related to the digital freedom strategy for the EU’s foreign policy which was adopted last December and we look forward to hearing about how a strategy for press and media freedom will be set up by the European External Action Service and the Commission. I believe that we have both the responsibility and an opportunity that we can take together.


  Laima Liucija Andrikienė, pranešėja. Aš kalbėsiu apie kitą dokumentą – apie Europos Sąjungos gaires dėl religijos ar tikėjimo laisvės skatinimo ir gynimo.

Džiaugiuosi, kad balsuojant Užsienio reikalų komitete dėl mūsų rekomendacijų projekto buvo priimtos visos kompromisinės pataisos ir papildymai, t. y. dėl svarbiausių dalykų pavyko sutarti visoms politinėms grupėms. Apgailestauju, kad balsuojant dėl atskirų rekomendacijų projekto nuostatų sutarimo pasiekti nepavyko, todėl kai kurių politinių grupių kolegos balsavo prieš visą dokumentą.

Keletas dalykų, kuriuos noriu akcentuoti šioje diskusijoje, tikėdamasi, kad tai pasitarnaus siekiant geresnio tarpusavio supratimo ir sutarimo svarstomu klausimu.

Pirmiausia noriu priminti, kad dar 2010 ir 2011 metais, priimdamas Metinį pranešimą dėl žmogaus teisių padėties pasaulyje, Europos Parlamentas ragino kitas Europos Sąjungos institucijas, pirmiausia ES Tarybą, priimti plataus masto priemonių rinkinį, kuriuo būtų siekiama skatinti teisę į religijos ar tikėjimo laisvę, įgyvendinant ES išorės politiką.

Europos Parlamentas palankiai įvertino Europos Sąjungos įsipareigojimą, remiantis ES veiksmų planu žmogaus teisių ir demokratijos srityje, parengti religijos ar tikėjimo laisvės gaires ir pabrėžė, kad Europos Parlamentas ir pilietinės visuomenės organizacijos turi dalyvauti rengiant šias Gaires.

Kas paskatino Europos Sąjungą ir Europos Parlamentą imtis veiksmų? Pirmiausia – supratimas, kad teisės į religijos ar tikėjimo laisvę skatinimas ir su ja susijusių pažeidimų prevencija turi būti Europos Sąjungos išorės politikos prioritetas. Antra – tai, kad daugelyje pasaulio šalių nesiliauja smurtas prieš religinėms bendruomenėms priklausančius asmenis ir mažumas ar nereliginiais įsitikinimais besivadovaujančius žmones, šių žmonių persekiojimas ir diskriminacija. Religinės tolerancijos, pasirengimo tarpreliginiam dialogui ir ekumeninio sambūvio trūkumas dažnai lemia politinius neramumus, dėl to griebiamasi smurto ir atvirų ginkluotų konfliktų, dėl kurių kyla pavojus žmonių gyvybėms, pažeidžiamas regionų stabilumas.

Mūsų Gairių ir rekomendacijų tikslas yra skatinti ir apsaugoti religijos ar tikėjimo laisvę trečiosiose šalyse, įtraukti religijos ar tikėjimo laisvę į visus ES išorės veiksmus ir žmogaus teisių politiką ir parengti aiškias gaires, kriterijus, standartus ir praktinius orientyrus, siekiant stiprinti religijos ar tikėjimo laisvės skatinimą pareigūnų iš Europos Sąjungos institucijų ir valstybių narių veikloje. Tokiu būdu mes siekiame užtikrinti didesnį Europos Sąjungos išorės politikos nuoseklumą, veiksmingumą ir matomumą.

Mes akcentuojame savo rekomendacijose keletą svarbių aspektų, kurie turi būti aiškiai ir nedviprasmiškai įtvirtinti gairėse, siekiant išvengti jų perdėm laisvos interpretacijos bei užtikrinti Gairių efektyvų įgyvendinimą, tarp jų –proporcingumas, saviraiškos laisvė, religijos ar tikėjimo laisvės kolektyvinis aspektas, registracijos reikalavimai, šeimos ir socialinė teisė ir daugelis kitų. Turiu pažymėti, kad kai kurie sulaukė nevienareikšmiškų vertinimų Europos Parlamento politinėse grupėse. Kai kuriems kolegoms atrodo, kad mūsų rekomendacijose apskritai per daug kalbama apie religiją ar tikėjimą. Bet, mieli kolegos, juk visas dokumentas būtent tam yra skirtas – religijos ar tikėjimo laisvės skatinimui ir gynimui, teisei įgyvendinti šią universalią ir vieną pagrindinių žmogaus laisvių. Todėl ir kalbame apie šią laisvę, apie jos vietą kitų laisvių kontekste, apie teisingo balanso suradimą tarp tokių principų kaip religijos laisvė ir saviraiškos laisvė.


  Anna Ibrisagic, för PPE-gruppen. – Fru talman! Mediefrihet är en av de viktigaste förutsättningarna för demokrati. Just därför är odemokratiska stater så starkt emot det fria ordet. Just därför fängslas det och mördas journalister som ställer frågor, som ifrågasätter och som avslöjar regimer runtom i världen även i dag.

Föredraganden nämnde i sitt anförande ett antal länder som bryter mot mediefrihet. Jag kan lägga till ytterligare ett land: Eritrea. Dawit Isaak, en journalist från mitt eget land, sitter nämligen fängslad i Eritrea i tolv år nu.

Jag är glad över att vi kunde enas över parti- och landsgränser i vårt starka stöd till mediefrihet i tredjeländerna. Jag är också glad över att vi i betänkandet för första gången nämner också digitala och sociala medier.

Bloggare runtom i världen har blivit ett lika stort hot för regimer som de traditionella medierna. Auktoritära regimer fruktar dem och de förföljs i samma utsträckning som journalister. Bloggare, men också olika delar av det civila samhället, har under senaste tiden bidragit med betydande politiska, sociala och ekonomiska förändringar. Därför förtjänar de vårt stöd och skydd.

Jag är också glad att vi ställer tydliga krav på de länder som vill ha en relation med EU, oavsett om det handlar om kandidatländer eller om länder som vill ha olika avtal med EU. Vi ställer krav på att de måste respektera mediefrihet. Samtidigt ställer vi också krav på EU att vara ledande när det gäller skydd av journalister och mediefrihet globalt.

Med allt detta sagt, vill jag ändå påpeka att det finns vissa delar av betänkandet som rör mediefrihet även inom EU, trots att det finns ett parallellt betänkande om mediefrihet inom EU och trots att vårt betänkande är utarbetat av utrikesutskottet och därför per definition ska handla om situationen i tredjeländer.

Jag vill starkt betona att såväl jag personligen som min politiska grupp alltid starkt har förespråkat och kämpat för mediefrihet, men vi vill inte politisera det. Detta är en fråga som förtjänar vår fullständiga uppmärksamhet och vårt fulla stöd, respekt och skydd för de modiga människor som riskerar sina liv för att alla medborgare ska ha samma rättigheter som vi utövar här i dag i detta hus.


  Richard Howitt, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, I welcome the Council annual report this year, the first since the High Representative steered the European Union to its new strategic framework on human rights. I welcome, too, the work of Special Representative Lambrinidis and repeat in this chamber what I said to him privately, that his significant work in promoting the participation of civil society groups in Russia’s human rights dialogue and championing human rights in the transition in Egypt are excellent examples that his role can make a difference.

I welcome the human rights contact group the EEAS has established with this Parliament, the in camera debriefings to MEPs following human rights dialogues, and the promise made to improve the follow-up to our urgency resolutions, all of which enable the European Parliament to bring democratic support to Europe’s human rights efforts in the world.

It is not a criticism of the EEAS or indeed the United Nations to say that we must question the assumption that, as the world develops, so will respect for human rights. I agree with the conclusion in the annual report that repression against independent civil society organisations and against free journalism and social media have got considerably worse, not better, in the last year. It is a challenge for us all to do better, and I warmly commend many of the ideas in Ms Schaake’s report for future action.

On specific questions, High Representative, I would like to ask you whether you would take up Parliament’s recommendation that the Foreign Affairs Council makes country-specific conclusions after human rights dialogues, not least to ensure a level of consistency, especially for our strategic partners.

I ask the High Representative to pay particular attention to human rights impact assessments in relation to trade agreements and investment treaties where perhaps we have most to do, but also most to gain.

As the High Representative prepares to go to Bahrain for the Gulf Cooperation Council Ministerial meeting, can I remind her that myself and my colleague Ana Gomes went into prison to meet political prisoners such as Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, whose conviction has now been confirmed for merely taking part in anti-government protests, and that he, and two others, are EU citizens? I ask her to do everything possible to secure their release.

Finally, in relation to the guidelines on freedom of religion and belief, my group believes freedom of religion is a fundamental right and gives our fundamental support to the guidelines. But to Ms Andrikienė and the EPP Group, I urge you to support the indivisibility of human rights.

This Parliament gives unhesitating support to the guidelines on religion and belief, but you must give equal support to the guidelines due to be agreed on the human rights of LGBT people. You should be careful about the denial of the human rights of women through efforts to restrict education for girls, or on issues such as reproductive health. This is why my group has tabled a number of split votes to your report, and is why we could not support it at committee.

These guidelines are on religion and belief. Do not put rights to religion, or indeed to some religions, above other beliefs. As Sigmund Freud wrote, ‘just as no one can be forced into belief, so no one can be forced into unbelief’.


  Charles Goerens, au nom du groupe ALDE. – Madame la Présidente, la période d'instabilité économique, financière et sociale que nous traversons, tant en Europe que dans le reste du monde, fait apparaître des menaces sur le monde de l'information.

Le journalisme est devenu un métier dangereux. Certains journalistes, hélas, ont payé de leur vie leur volonté de nous informer. Dans le voisinage immédiat de l'Union européenne, les exemples ne manquent pas pour illustrer ce phénomène inacceptable. C'est le cas du journaliste menacé en permanence par la main invisible, notamment de l'un ou l'autre gouvernement.

À l'intérieur de l'Union européenne, cependant, les menaces sont devenues plus subtiles. Dans deux pays au moins, c'est moins la lettre de la loi qui risque de porter atteinte à la liberté de la presse, mais plutôt la marge d'interprétation à laquelle ladite loi peut donner lieu. C'est la zone grise qui commence à brouiller les repères indispensables à la presse pour mener à bonne fin son devoir d'information.

Le Parlement européen, en pointant du doigt les comportements inadmissibles dont font preuve certains pays non européens, donne, en quelque sorte, une voix à ceux qui sont menacés. Nous serions encore plus crédibles si nous faisions aussi le ménage à l'intérieur de l'Union. Les pénibles débats que nous avons eus, ici, au sein de ce Parlement même, sur l'Italie de Silvio Berlusconi et la Hongrie de Viktor Orbán, nous montrent qu'il reste encore un bon bout de chemin à parcourir pour être vraiment crédibles. L'Union européenne devrait se donner les moyens de lever toute ambiguïté dans l'application des droits fondamentaux, dont la liberté de la presse.


  Barbara Lochbihler, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, I would like to thank High Representative Cathy Ashton and her staff for presenting to us a very good and comprehensive EU annual report on human rights. Thank you also for delivering it in time, so we at Parliament can start with our own report soon.

The annual report rightly notes in its foreword that the universality of human rights starts at home with the vigilant monitoring of Europe’s own human rights challenges and its willingness to tackle them through a wealth of mechanisms, with no room for complacency. My question is: to what extent have you been able to take action on this external and internal coherence?

Our human rights policy will also gain from greater coherence between our external policies, notably with regard to trade. Myanmar/Burma is a prime example of inconsistency between our trade and human rights policies. The Commission has just proposed granting Burma preferential trade access, while the UN Special Rapporteur on Burma has denounced ‘widespread and systematic human rights violations’. Could you please tell us what safeguards are taken to ensure that trade and investment agreements do not undermine our human rights objectives and values?

Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee commissioned a study on the human rights implications of the use of drones and unmanned robots in warfare. The study makes a series of recommendations and raises a lot of important legal questions to which the EU has to find and give answers. There is a general sense of uncertainty as to the applicable legal standards. The lack of transparency and accountability of current policies has the potential to polarise the international community and to undermine the rule of law. This trend opens possibilities for EU foreign policy initiatives, and I would like you to tell me in which way the EU is addressing this issue, which has relevance for human rights.

A coherent human rights policy also means being consistent when raising human rights with third countries, big or small. This would mean, for example, raising the case of Liu Xiaobo in your discussions with Chinese officials, supporting the adoption of an EU Magnitsky list in relation to Russia or speaking up against caste discrimination in New Delhi.

Could you please reassure us that human rights are indeed high on your agenda in your discussions with strategic partners?


  Tomasz Piotr Poręba, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Pani Przewodnicząca! Szanowna Wysoka Przedstawiciel! Rozmawiamy dzisiaj o demokracji, o prawach człowieka, o wolności mediów i wydawałoby się, że te tematy są odległe, że to nie są problemy w Unii Europejskiej, ale gdzieś poza nią. Ale muszę z przykrością powiedzieć, i mówię to z żalem, że tak nie jest. Nie jest tak, chociażby patrząc na przykład tego, co się dzieje w moim kraju, w Polsce, gdzie pluralizm medialny nie istnieje, a media katolickie są zwyczajnie dyskryminowane. Otóż, drodzy państwo, to, że jedyna katolicka telewizja w Polsce, Telewizja Trwam, nie uzyskała miejsca na platformie cyfrowej, to, że w tej sprawie zignorowano 2,5 mln podpisów polskich obywateli, to, że wyklucza się katolików z debaty publicznej – to obecnie są standardy demokracji w moim kraju. Tak obecnie traktuje się katolików w Polsce.

Podobnie ma się rzecz z innymi mediami. Przykładem – dziennik „Rzeczpospolita”. Całe kierownictwo tego dziennika wraz z redaktorem, który napisał tekst o katastrofie w Smoleńsku, gdzie zginęła elita Polaków na czele z prezydentem Lechem Kaczyńskim – tekst prawdziwy, artykuł prawdziwy – zostali wyrzuceni z pracy, a rzecznik rządu z oligarchą medialnym, właścicielem tego dziennika, ustalali tezy kolejnych artykułów. Kolejna redakcja, młodych ludzi, została przez tego samego oligarchę medialnego wyrzucona z pracy, z tygodnika „Uważam Rze”. Kiedy założyli oni swój własny, odebrano im prawo do tytułu, sądownie, drodzy państwo, kilka miesięcy po tym, jak tytuł ten zaczął realnie funkcjonować na rynku medialnym w Polsce. Medialne koncerny w Polsce, media prorządowe mogą liczyć na wsparcie agend rządowych, na wsparcie rządu, a dziennikarze niezależni, niezależne media mogą tylko i wyłącznie o tym pomarzyć.

Zwracam się do pani wysokiej przedstawiciel, aby szczególnie w tym kontekście, w kontekście prześladowania mediów katolickich, dyskryminacji mediów katolickich, ale też usuwania z debaty publicznej niezależnych dziennikarzy, zwróciła szczególną uwagę, gdy obserwuje to, co się dzieje w Polsce.

I jeszcze jedna rzecz. Rozmawiamy dzisiaj o chrześcijaństwie, rozmawiamy o wolności religii. Drodzy państwo! To jest któraś już debata na ten temat i ja panią serdecznie proszę, żeby pani wreszcie w imieniu chrześcijan wystąpiła na forum międzynarodowym i zaczęła bronić chrześcijan na świecie, bo 200 milionów chrześcijan jest prześladowanych na całym świecie, a mam wrażenie, że Unia Europejska niewiele w tej sprawie robi, z panią na czele.


  Νικόλαος Σαλαβράκος, εξ ονόματος της ομάδας EFD. – Κυρία Πρόεδρε, χαιρετίζω τις εκθέσεις των δύο εισηγητριών που αφορούν σημαντικά θέματα, πυλώνες για τη δημοκρατία, δηλαδή την προάσπιση των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων, την ελευθερία της θρησκείας και των πεποιθήσεων και την ελευθερία του τύπου και των μέσων μαζικής ενημέρωσης ανά τον κόσμο.

Θεωρώ επιτυχή την τοποθέτηση του κ. Λαμπριανίδη του εκπροσώπου για τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα και, ξέροντας τις ικανότητές του, περιμένω πολλά από αυτόν. Η κ. Schaake στην έκθεσή της, στην οποία παραθέτει, ενδεικτικά, χώρες που παραβιάζονται τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα, επισημαίνει ορθώς ότι οι κυβερνήσεις είναι κατ' εξοχήν υπεύθυνες για τη διασφάλιση και την προστασία της ελευθερίας του Τύπου και των Μέσων Ενημέρωσης, και, βεβαίως, κατ' εξοχήν υπεύθυνες για την παρεμπόδιση της ελευθερίας του Τύπου και των Μέσων Ενημέρωσης.

Αίμα δημοσιογράφων ρέει στη Συρία. Οι πρόσφατες εξελίξεις στην Τουρκία, μια υποψήφια προς ένταξη χώρα, έχουν προκαλέσει ιδιαίτερη ανησυχία. Παρατηρούμε με λύπη ότι η τουρκική κυβέρνηση κινείται προς την κατεύθυνση εδραίωσης μιας ισλαμικής δημοκρατίας η οποία απομακρύνεται από τα πρότυπα ενός σύγχρονου κράτους δικαίου.

Διερωτώμαι: συνάδουν αυτά που βλέπουμε με τα χαρακτηριστικά χώρας υποψήφιας προς ένταξη; Με λύπη επίσης επισημαίνω τις διώξεις κατά χριστιανών. Ιδιαίτερα στις περιοχές Αφρικής, Ασίας και Μέσης Ανατολής, ενώ η κατάσταση τους επιδεινώνεται και από την πρόσφατη συριακή κρίση.

Το Βατικανό καταγγέλλει ότι περίπου 100.000 χριστιανοί θανατώνονται κάθε χρόνο για λόγους πίστεως ανά τον κόσμο. Η θρησκευτική ελευθερία ταλανίζεται από την μισαλλοδοξία και την τρομοκρατία. Θα πρέπει, πιστεύω και το εισηγούμαι, οι διακρίσεις εις βάρος των χριστιανών να αντιμετωπιστούν με τον ίδιο τρόπο όπως ο αντισημιτισμός και η ισλαμοφοβία.


  Marie-Christine Vergiat, au nom du groupe GUE/NGL. – Madame la Présidente, le rapport annuel de l'Union européenne sur les droits de l'homme et la démocratie, tel que nous pouvons en discuter aujourd'hui, montre le chemin parcouru.

Pour la première fois, nous n'avons pas un catalogue, nous avons enfin un rapport qui ressemble à quelque chose, en deux parties: une thématique, comme nous l'avions souhaité, et une par pays. Nous avons effectivement enfin un document qui nous permet d'assurer un suivi réel des actions de l'Union européenne. Le Parlement européen ne doit pas seulement y être cité, il doit y être réellement entendu. Et là, nous avons encore du chemin à parcourir pour que les positions du Parlement européen soient réellement prises en compte, même si quelques progrès ont été réalisés.

Je ne prendrai qu'un exemple, celui de la clause "démocratie et droits de l'homme". Nombre d'entre nous sommes ici très attachés à la mise en œuvre de cette clause et demandons qu'elle conditionne la mise en œuvre de tout accord de l'Union européenne avec un pays tiers. Or, que voit-on à la page 133 du rapport? Cette clause n'a servi de base à aucune mesure restrictive à l'encontre d'un pays tiers en 2012 et on nous promet qu'à l'avenir, on tiendra compte des demandes du Parlement européen et de la société civile en faveur – je cite –, d'une application plus cohérente et plus constante de cette clause. Quel aveu, Madame Ashton!

Tant que l'Union européenne ne mettra pas des actes sur ses discours, tant que ses intérêts économiques ou diplomatiques seront supérieurs à ses valeurs, la crédibilité de l'Union européenne en ce domaine sera malmenée. J'oserais dire que l'Union européenne doit cesser de faire du relativisme culturel en préservant d'abord ses propres intérêts. Et je ne parle même pas des contradictions entre les États membres. Quelquefois, on se demande si ceux-ci ont vraiment l'impression d'appartenir à l'Union.

Un mot aussi sur la vision universelle, et surtout indivisible, des droits de l'homme, que nous devrions avoir au vu de la faible part accordée aux droits économiques et sociaux. Un exemple cité également dans le rapport: l'accord UE-Colombie, pays qui détient le triste record du nombre de syndicalistes assassinés et occupe l'avant-dernière place en matière d'impunité judiciaire.

Pour terminer, je voudrais remercier M. Lambridinis, parce que je crois que la coopération que nous avons entamée est un exemple en la matière, et je l'en remercie tout particulièrement.


  Daniël van der Stoep (NI). - Voorzitter, religies en ideologieën zijn het ultieme kwaad van deze wereld. Eeuwenoude dogma's worden opgedrongen om achterlijke, achterhaalde en idiote wereldbeelden aan mensen en aan kinderen op te dringen. Religies maken mensen dom en houden mensen dom, ondanks de wetenschappelijke waarheid dat er geen opperwezens bestaan.

Voorzitter, het bestaansrecht van religies is dat ze leefregels opleggen die een zelfbenoemde waarheid bevatten. Leefregels die superieur worden geacht boven empirisch bewezen feiten. Iedereen heeft het recht om in zijn hoofd te denken wat hij wil, hoe waanzinnig het ook is en hoe gespeend het ook is van elke vorm van realiteitszin. Mensenrechten hebben als basis dat zij die personen moeten beschermen die gediscrimineerd worden op grond van iets dat buiten hun eigen vrije wil ligt, iets waarmee ze geboren zijn of dat hun is aangedaan. Denk aan het hebben van een bepaalde huidskleur, handicap, ras, seksuele geaardheid of geslacht. Die mensen verdienen bescherming tegen welke vorm van willekeur dan ook. En daar sta ik ook achter.

Maar geloven in een deus is een keuze. Het is niet aangeboren. Het is een keuze die mensen maken met hun volle verstand – althans dat zou je denken. Helaas worden kinderen al heel vroeg gehersenspoeld om het geloof van hun omgeving aan te hangen. Het is je reinste kindermishandeling, want niemand wordt gelovig geboren, je wordt het gemaakt.

Gelovigen moeten altijd geridiculiseerd en bespot kunnen worden, belachelijk gemaakt kunnen worden en constant aangesproken kunnen worden op hun waanbeelden. Het verbieden van blasfemie is de nagel aan de doodskist van de vrije meningsuiting en het gezond verstand. Kwetsen en beledigen van gelovigen is een recht dat iedereen heeft. Want, wil je geloven in God, Allah, Boeddha of wat dan ook, dan moet je accepteren dat je tegen elke vorm van menselijk logisch redeneren ingaat en dat daar binnen een vrije democratische samenleving een prijs opstaat, namelijk dat je bespot kunt worden om je idiote denkbeelden. En dat heb je maar te accepteren.

Ik rond af. Geloven doe je maar thuis, niet in de publieke ruimte. Het niet geconfronteerd willen worden met eeuwenoude dogma's en deze mogen ridiculiseren, dát zou een mensenrecht moeten zijn.


  Gay Mitchell (PPE). - Madam President, I would like to thank the High Representative and the rapporteurs. Can I first of all start by mentioning a word which upsets a lot of people. The word is ‘unborn’. I heard a colleague speak recently as if human sexual reproductive health and rights and religion were somehow opposing forces in our society.

The reality is that there are up to 200 million women missing from the world’s population because of gender-based abortion and infanticide. You cannot simply talk about rights in such bland circumstances. Those unborn did not have the right to be terminated simply because they were women. So could we all take off the blinkers and have a more informed discussion about this and could our human rights leaders take a little more interest in this particular issue? It is wrong to terminate in those circumstances and it is time we said so unambiguously.

Secondly, can I say in relation to religion generally that I find this House in particular one of the most intolerant places for people who hold religious beliefs. There are people whom I have supported and issues I have supported like gay partnership, votes for prisoners – I have introduced bills for that – but when I stand up and say something that comes from my religious conviction – as a lot of my views do – they are dismissed as if I were from some strange planet.

Religion and religious conviction are as important to some people as, say, hurling is as a sport in my country and it should not be dismissed. We need to show respect for each other, but that respect has to be mutual. It has to be shared. People should not be questioned about their religious convictions when they appear at committees in this House. Who does more for the poor, the suffering, the marginalised, people with HIV and AIDS, the unemployed and the homeless? I know who does it in my constituency, I know who does it in the Third World. So let us not be so dismissive of people who hold religious beliefs.

One last word on freedom of the press. Let us have a really free press, not a freedom of the press where a crook who is President can ring the owner of the press and tell him that he wants a story killed. This is an issue that we have to address as well, where owners of the press can kill journalists’ stories when those stories should legitimately be covered.

I welcomed the opportunity to participate in this debate.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))


  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), question "carton bleu". – Monsieur Mitchell, j'éviterai tout commentaire sur le droit à l'avortement et le droit des femmes. Je voudrais juste vous poser une question. Vous vous êtes longuement exprimé sur la liberté de religion. Nous examinons aujourd'hui un rapport. Je voudrais savoir si vous l'avez lu, parce que vos propos sont en totale contradiction avec le travail que nous avons fait avec Mme Andrikienė.

Je regrette, pour ma part, quelques amendements adoptés au sein de la commission des affaires étrangères, mais ce rapport est remarquable en ce qu'il respecte la liberté de religion et la liberté de conscience et qu'il permet à tout un chacun d'être libre de ses opinions. C'est cela qui doit prévaloir à l'intérieur de ce Parlement.


  Gay Mitchell (PPE), blue-card answer. – Mr President, I thank Madam Vergiat for that question and I am not in any way in disagreement with her at all, or the contents of the report in that regard. My comments were in relation to what another colleague had said, and he said it with perfect legitimacy, it is his point of view. I just wanted to put another point of view on the record, because this House is supposed to be about debate, it is supposed to be about difference. The whole European project is supposed to be about unity in diversity, but religion, and people who have a view on life when it commences, is also part of the diversity. So please let us have a little bit of mutual respect in the House, take off the blinkers and try to pursue truth on all parts. I think the winners will be the people we serve.


  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D). - Pani Przewodnicząca! Witam Wysoką Przedstawiciel. Prawa człowieka są centralnym elementem stosunków Unii ze wszystkimi państwami trzecimi, jednak w kontaktach z Rosją, Chinami, Izraelem, Stanami Zjednoczonymi nie widać spójnej strategii w zakresie praw człowieka. Dlatego trzeba ustalić dla państw członkowskich minimum obowiązujące w tym zakresie w kontaktach z partnerami strategicznymi.

Izrael doprowadza do katastrofy humanitarnej na okupowanych terytoriach palestyńskich. Od stycznia 2011 r. zniszczył w strefie okupowanej ponad 60 obiektów finansowanych przez Unię, takich jak zbiorniki z wodą, panele słoneczne, budynki rolnicze. Na moje zapytanie w tej sprawie, otrzymałam od Wysokiej Przedstawiciel odpowiedź, że od 2009 r. nie ma doniesień o niszczeniu przez Izrael infrastruktury finansowanej ze środków Unii. W związku z rezolucją Parlamentu w sprawie polityki unijnej w odniesieniu do Zachodniego Brzegu Jordanu i Wschodniej Jerozolimy pytam, czy zostały wreszcie zweryfikowane zarzuty dotyczące niszczenia na terenach okupowanych obiektów finansowanych ze środków unijnych? Co udało się osiągnąć w sprawie więzionych w Bahrajnie działaczy? Parlament wzywał do ich uwolnienia przed ministerialnym posiedzeniem z Radą Współpracy Państw Zatoki, która ma się odbyć w Bahrajnie 30 czerwca bieżącego roku.

Wciąż powszechna jest przemoc wobec kobiet, w moim kraju, m. in. przemoc instytucjonalna w postaci restrykcyjnej ustawy antyaborcyjnej. Jakie dalsze działania planowane są w zakresie zwalczania przemocy, także instytucjonalnej?

Na zakończenie serdecznie dziękuję Wysokiej Przedstawiciel za wspieranie międzynarodowych dążeń do przyjęcia traktatu o handlu bronią. Niezmiernie istotna jest teraz jego ratyfikacja, w szczególności przez głównych eksporterów broni. Dlatego proszę Wysoką Przedstawiciel o dalsze zaangażowanie w proces ratyfikacji i wdrażania traktatu.


  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE). - Madam President, press freedom is one of the most crucial elements of a free and democratic society. Unfortunately, we can still find countries all over the world where the level of press freedom is very low, for example Syria, Cuba, Russia and China. Although the states within the EU rank quite high in the statistics, we must not get too comfortable and lose the necessary freedom and pluralism that have been established.

Economic and political distress could lead to governments trying to portray things in a different, more suitable way. That was the case for example in Turkey, last week and now, when during the riots the Turkish state media were covering stories about history and nature rather than showing what was going on.

Governments must not fear free media but rather support them and create equal and fair conditions for all. The same applies to digital media where recent years have shown how vital the exchange of information via digital channels can become. People all over the world have understood that very well. Therefore it is ever more important that we keep monitoring the freedom of the press and if necessary take action against recurring violations.


  Nicole Kiil-Nielsen (Verts/ALE). - Madame la Présidente, je salue le rapport de Mme Schaake, qui demande, à juste titre, que l'Union européenne adopte le plus rapidement possible une stratégie concernant la liberté de la presse et des médias dans le cadre de la politique extérieure. Il s'agit d'assurer la cohérence et l'efficacité de nos politiques, particulièrement quand un pays partenaire commence à promulguer des lois restreignant la liberté d'expression.

Les exemples sont nombreux de pays adoptant des lois liberticides. Nous pourrions évoquer la Russie, la Moldavie, l'Ukraine, le Burundi, la Chine, mais je m'en tiendrai à la situation au Kazakhstan.

Depuis le massacre des civils à Zhanaozen, en 2011, ce pays connaît une répression constante de la société civile, des groupes d'opposition et, surtout, de la presse et des médias. Il y a tout juste deux mois, une trentaine de journaux, de sites internet et de chaînes de télévision ont été interdits. L'Europe doit donc adopter des plans d'action adéquats pour soutenir efficacement les journalistes et la société civile de ce pays.


  Susy De Martini (ECR). - Madam President, I must say to Baroness Ashton, as a physician and a human being, that I have a specific concern, namely about so-called ‘Cuban health diplomacy’.

Cuba is sending out doctors under government-to-government cooperation agreements. This practice has now become Cuba’s biggest industry, bringing in USD 6 billion. In Venezuela alone, there are more than 30 000 Cuban doctors, traded for oil; in Brazil there are 6 000 of them. The host countries pay for each doctor about USD 5 000 per month, while the doctors themselves receive only USD 25.

These bilateral agreements clearly violate a number of International Labour Organisation conventions. One of the escaped Cuban doctors recently stated, ‘We are the highest qualified slave labour force in the world.’ Are we sure that we should continue to finance Cuba, with EUR 30 million each year?


  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). - Aktuálne informácie denníka Washington Post o tajnej operácii PRISM riadenej Národnou bezpečnostnou agentúrou Spojených štátov amerických nám poukázali na deficit ochranných mechanizmov v každodennej elektronickej komunikácii.

Ak prevádzkovatelia komunikačných serverov poskytujú americkým tajným službám všetky získané informácie o našich občanoch, myslíte si, že nezávislé médiá, ich redakcie a novinári boli z tohto špehovania vyňatí? Iste nie. A tak ako úchylák cez kľúčovú dierku s vypleštenými očami sleduje nahú susedu pri sprchovaní, rovnako Obamove tajné očká a ušká so záujmom sledujú aj prácu a komunikáciu všetkých médií a ich zamestnancov, ku ktorým sa dostanú.

Preto vážené kolegyne, vážení kolegovia, ak chceme hovoriť o skutočnej slobode médií a tlače vo svete, musíme sa postarať aj o to, aby sa zákonom deklarované slobody a práva stali záväznými aj pre všelijakých oficiálnych či neoficiálnych špehov.


  Νικόλαος Χουντής (GUE/NGL). - Κυρία Πρόεδρε, στην έκθεση για την ελευθερία του τύπου και των μέσων ενημέρωσης στις τρίτες χώρες διαβάζουμε: "η αξιοπιστία της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης σε διεθνές προσκήνιο, εξασφαλίζεται μόνο, όταν η ελευθερία του τύπου και των μέσων ενημέρωσης διαφυλάσσεται εντός της ιδίας της Ένωσης".

Κυρία Άστον, γνωρίζετε πάρα πολύ καλά τα γεγονότα. Χθες, η ελληνική κυβέρνηση, ξαφνικά, με μια πρωτοφανή διαδικασία έκλεισε δημόσιους τηλεοπτικούς και ραδιοφωνικούς σταθμούς χωρίς καμία διαβούλευση, χωρίς καμιά προειδοποίηση. Τέτοια πράγματα οι Έλληνες δεν τα είχαν δει ούτε στην δικτατορία των συνταγματαρχών και εμείς εδώ κάνουμε τώρα μαθήματα δημοκρατίας σε τρίτες χώρες. Ποια δημοκρατική διαδικασία ακολουθείται; Η διαδικασία που έχει επιβάλλει η Τρόικα; Είστε μέλος της Τρόικα, είστε Αντιπρόεδρος της Επιτροπής και με αυτές τις διαδικασίες έχει επιβληθεί στην χώρα μου μια fast truck δημοκρατία, μια δήθεν κυβέρνηση που υπακούει στις εντολές σας.

Μετά το κύμα διαμαρτυρίας βγάζετε μια κατάπτυστη ανακοίνωση, ντροπή σας κυρία Άστον - δεν αναφέρομαι προσωπικά - η οποία δικαιολογεί αυτή την κίνηση της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης. Αγαπητοί συνάδελφοί, μη ξεγελιόσαστε. Ότι έγινε με τα μνημόνια στην Ελλάδα, γίνεται σ' όλη την Ευρώπη. Ότι γίνεται, σήμερα, με τη δημόσια ραδιοτηλεόραση στην Ελλάδα, θα γίνει και στις χώρες σας.


  Bruno Gollnisch (NI). - Madame la Présidente, rien ne montre mieux l'hypocrisie européenne en fait de droits de l'homme et de libertés que l'affaire Julian Assange. Ce militant australien a informé le monde sur les desseins secrets de la diplomatie américaine, affaire connue sous le nom de WikiLeaks. Bien sûr, les États-Unis cherchent à se venger en l'emprisonnant à vie. Mais pourquoi les y aider?

Or, Londres, toujours servile envers Washington, veut l'extrader en Suède, où deux jeunes femmes, qui sont entrées librement dans son lit dénudées, ont ensuite porté plainte pour viol afin d'assouvir leur dépit de ne pas être seules à bénéficier de ses faveurs. L'une se plaint d'absence ou de rupture de préservatif, l'autre dit avoir consenti au premier rapport sexuel de la nuit, mais moins au deuxième. C'est grotesque!

En fait, l'Angleterre veut l'extrader en Suède pour que la Suède l'extrade aux États-Unis. Voilà le procédé infâme de cette Europe qui se dit prête, comme hier ici, à accueillir tous les réfugiés du monde. Julian Assange est réfugié depuis un an à l'ambassade de l'Equateur. Londres doit le laisser partir librement. Assez d'hypocrisie! Libérez Julian Assange.


  Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative. − Madam President, I am grateful to Parliament. I have had a very interesting four-and-a-half hours with you here today and two days in Strasbourg, but I have a flight that I must catch to continue my work. I just want to pick up on three or four of the threads. My colleague Andris Piebalgs, ably supported by our Special Representative, will pick up the rest.

Firstly, it is very interesting how many Members of this House have chosen to use this opportunity to talk about internal issues. As we say in the report, we understand the connection very well. The important thing is that the institutions need to be working together to make sure that the issues being raised are looked at and, if necessary, addressed. This is a fantastic institution, where freedom to say what you believe and what you think is valued extremely highly. I pay tribute to Members who have been assiduous in wanting to ensure that human rights are a huge part of our work internally and externally.

I want to make a couple of comments about specific things that have been raised. I think we have already had an important discussion – when we were talking about Turkey – about the role of journalists and bloggers and the importance of freedom of expression and media. Those who participated will know that it was an extremely valuable and important debate, spanning the spectrum of opinion in this House. It is important that we build on the work that Ms Schaake has done in her report and the work that we can do to continue to support media freedom and the ability of people to be able to hold and express their views and to ensure that information flows properly and freely. That is a fundamental part of the work we need to do in the future. It is increasingly important when we look at some of the situations that we face in the world.

In all of the work we do – whether on trade and investment or our third-country relationships and in every dialogue and every conversation – it is absolutely crucial that the point I have been making since I began is understood. Human rights should not be put in the corner as the issue that you add at the end of the discussion when you have got to raise something difficult. It should be part of all the discussions. So in all of our dialogues, it is fundamental, at the core of every debate: it is not hidden way and it is not sidelined in some kind of box-ticking or checklist approach.

Stavros Lambrinidis is revolutionising all of that even further and building a dynamic in our human rights debates with countries which, frankly, would not have done this before. It is very interesting to me to know which countries are prepared to receive him, work with him, talk with him and engage with him, at both government and civil society level. He will precede me in my journey to Bahrain for the Gulf Cooperation Council and will be spending time in the Middle East. He spends time with our strategic partners.

This is something we need to build on and develop. This is our first EU Special Representative and this is the first term of office for a High Representative/Vice-President. We can do an awful lot more, but I think the progress we have made is really significant.

Finally, regarding our ability to support freedom of religion and belief, it is very important that we understand the situation of so many people of faith across the world. Some of you focused, in your debate, on Christians. There are real challenges for some Christian groups in parts of the world right now. There are also challenges for groups from other faiths and religions in other parts of the world right now. We have to stand up for the right to believe, the right to express beliefs and the right to be able to see them as part of who you are.

To go back to the point I made at the end of my first speech: the only thing you need to have for human rights to apply to you is to be human. Nothing else – not what colour you are, what gender you are, whether you are lesbian, gay, transsexual or bisexual, whatever you are: you just have to be human. As long as we remember that and capture that in everything we do in our relations across the world, I believe we will serve our public well.




  Andrzej Grzyb (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Chciałbym przede wszystkim wypowiedzieć się w tej debacie w sprawie zaleceń, w których Parlament Europejski odnosi się do wytycznych Unii Europejskiej dotyczących ochrony i propagowania wolności religijnych. Sprawozdanie pani poseł Andrikienė to ważny dokument. Po pierwsze, każdy człowiek ma prawo do swobody wyznania religijnego, jednocześnie to prawo do wolności przekonań oraz przeciwdziałanie naruszeniom tego prawa musi być naszym wspólnym priorytetem – priorytetem Unii i Parlamentu. Prawo to jest bowiem wielokrotnie łamane. W różnych częściach świata mamy do czynienia z prześladowaniami, w tym z przemocą przeciw wspólnotom i mniejszościom religijnym, często również i na tej sali o tym mówimy. W wielu przypadkach prześladowania godzą w zdrowie i życie tych ludzi. Rocznie na przykład ginie do 170 tysięcy chrześcijan. Obrona praw człowieka to również obrona prawa do respektowania wolności religijnej, z tym mamy do czynienia i to podkreśla Traktat z Lizbony.

Szczególny obowiązek dotyczy naszych partnerów, którzy mają uprzywilejowane relacje z Unią Europejską, np. w ramach europejskiej polityki sąsiedztwa, ale również z wszystkimi innymi partnerami. Należy zwrócić uwagę również na pewne paradoksy, że często wydarzenia takie jak arabska wiosna, prowadzące do demokratyzacji, po których spodziewaliśmy się demokratycznych zmian i większego poszanowania praw człowieka, w wielu przypadkach doprowadziły do wzrostu prześladowań z powodów religijnych. Tak jest na przykład w przypadku Koptów w Egipcie, tak jest również obecnie w Syrii. Dlatego bardzo dobrze, że te zalecenia powstają i że będziemy mieli prawo również na ten temat rozmawiać z Radą i z wysoką przedstawiciel w przyszłości.


  Raimon Obiols (S&D). - Señor Presidente, comparto la valoración positiva que han hecho bastantes diputados sobre el informe, pues está bien hecho y es un buen útil de trabajo. Y comparto también la valoración positiva que se ha hecho de la labor del representante especial para los derechos humanos, Stavros Lambrinidis. Es a él a quien me dirijo, respetando la agenda y también la competencia sobre derechos humanos de la Alta Representante, para decirle lo siguiente.

La primera prioridad de la Unión Europea en materia de derechos humanos debería ser la abolición de la pena de muerte en el mundo. Hoy comienza en Madrid el quinto Congreso Mundial contra la Pena de Muerte, en un clima realista pero de gran decisión, para perseguir el objetivo en la próxima década de conseguir llegar a una situación en la cual la referencia a la pena de muerte en una Constitución sea algo tan insólito, tan inconcebible, como lo sería la referencia a la esclavitud. Nuestras generaciones pueden ver este objetivo.

En este momento más de dos tercios de los Estados han abolido en la legislación o en la práctica la pena de muerte y solo quedan 58 países retencionistas que la mantienen, entre ellos dos grandes países: China y los Estados Unidos, pero que se encuentran crecientemente aislados.

La batalla se puede ganar si no se afloja sobre la pretensión de que ya está medio ganada. No solo es una batalla que se puede ganar en la discreción de la diplomacia, también en la afirmación de unos valores con la máxima firmeza. Es una práctica bárbara, cruel e inhumana, no es propia de ninguna religión o cultura —el diferencialismo en este terreno es rechazable— y no resuelve ningún problema sino que los agrava.

Yo animo a que la Unión Europea y sus representantes en materia de derechos humanos hagan bandera principal de este combate.


  Jelko Kacin (ALDE). - Mr President, Commissioner Piebalgs, Mr Lambrinidis, Ms Schaake’s report addresses one of the most pressing global issues, and I congratulate her for her outstanding work.

Media freedoms are an essential part of any open democratic society. As a Union that rests on the principles of democracy and freedom, the EU must take a leading role in defending the independence and integrity of both traditional and online media. The report rightly points out that we cannot be at the forefront in this struggle unless the EU and all its Member States live up to the highest standards of media freedoms.

This is not the case today. We need to work hard on strengthening EU mechanisms and particularly the authority of the Commission to react promptly and efficiently whenever there are clear signs that authorities or private interests endanger the independence of media.

The most worrying cases among Member States are Hungary, due to the illegitimate constitutional changes, and Greece, where the six years of protracted recession have pressed hard on journalists’ ability to report independently. Today the authorities even shut down the public broadcaster. This is unbelievable! We cannot turn a blind eye to these deeply worrying trends.

Lastly, I particularly welcome the fact that the report urges the EU to play a more significant role with regard to media freedoms in enlargement and neighbourhood countries. Macedonia poses a specific problem, as almost all media critical of the government have been shut one by one due to political or financial pressure. The most vivid proof of this trend is the fact that the country dropped more than 80 places on the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.


  Jean-Jacob Bicep (Verts/ALE). - Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, les lignes directrices pour la promotion et la protection de la liberté de religion et de conviction dans le monde touchent à une source majeure de violation des droits de l'homme sur cette planète. Parce que les droits de l'homme sont indivisibles, la liberté de religion et de conscience fait partie intégrante, aux côtés des autres droits fondamentaux, de notre cadre de référence commun.

Le projet de lignes directrices le dit et je veux le saluer. L'Union européenne, en tant qu'ensemble institutionnel, est neutre d'un point de vue religieux. Dans le même temps, l'Europe, en tant que territoire, est diverse et multiconfessionnelle. Nous devons défendre, ensemble, les deux faces de cette même médaille. Aussi, les recommandations le disent, et je le salue: chacun est libre de croire mais chacun est aussi libre de ne pas croire. Ces deux libertés vont de pair.

Je veux souligner deux points. Premièrement, le texte soumis au vote contient une référence douteuse à l'objection de conscience qui s'étendrait à des sujets moralement sensibles. C'est laisser la porte ouverte à tous les abus et nous devons nous y opposer.

Deuxièmement, le texte voudrait faire croire que le droit des parents à assurer l'éducation morale et religieuse des enfants peut s'exercer en dehors de toute limite. Il doit être strictement respecté, oui! Mais pas en dehors de toute limite.


  Mirosław Piotrowski (ECR). - Panie Przewodniczący! W sprawozdaniu w sprawie wolności mediów na świecie Parlament Europejski uznaje, że główną odpowiedzialność za zagwarantowanie i ochronę, a także ograniczanie wolności prasy i mediów ponoszą rządy. Mowa jest także o nadużywaniu przez rządy przepisów. Aż 14 punktów tego dokumentu poświęconych zostało cyfryzacji. Parlament Europejski dostrzega w cyfryzacji nie tylko podwyższanie poziomów informacji, ale jak dosłownie zapisano, świadomy jest, że zjawiska te budzą trwogę szczególnie reżimów totalitarnych. Wyraża także zaniepokojenie masowymi działaniami o charakterze nadzorczym i cenzorskim. Niestety takie działania prowadzą obecnie polskie władze blokujące dostęp do cyfrowego multipleksu jedynej katolickiej telewizji w Polsce – Telewizji Trwam. W obronie tej stacji zebrano 2,5 miliona podpisów, a na ulicach miast manifestowały setki tysięcy ludzi. Kwestię tę poruszałem już na forum Parlamentu Europejskiego i nadal czekam na oficjalną reakcję zarówno Parlamentu, jak i Komisji Europejskiej.


  Χαράλαμπος Αγγουράκης (GUE/NGL). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η ελληνική κυβέρνηση έκλεισε χτες βράδυ με μια απαράδεκτη Πράξη Νομοθετικού Περιεχομένου, τη Δημόσια Ελληνική Ραδιοτηλεόραση (ΕΡΤ), απολύοντας ταυτόχρονα χιλιάδες εργαζόμενους.

Αυτό αποτελεί ισχυρό πλήγμα στο δικαίωμα στην ενημέρωση, πλήγμα για τις λαϊκές ελευθερίες. Η κυβέρνηση, όμως, διέκοψε και την εκπομπή του σήματος της ΕΡΤ για να εμποδίσει τους εργαζομένους της ΕΡΤ να ενημερώσουν για τις εξελίξεις.

Θέλω να καταγγείλω την ελληνική κυβέρνηση και την πολυεθνική εταιρεία ψηφιακών δορυφορικών μεταδόσεων DIGΕΑ για τη διακοπή του ψηφιακού σήματος του τηλεοπτικού σταθμού "", ο οποίος αναμετέδιδε το πρόγραμμα των εργαζομένων της ΕΡΤ.

Το σκάνδαλο είναι ακόμα μεγαλύτερο, γιατί η Επιτροπή και το Ευρωπαϊκό Συμβούλιο κρύβονται πίσω από ισχυρισμούς ότι το θέμα, δήθεν, είναι αρμοδιότητα της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης, και ότι αυτοί σέβονται τις αποφάσεις και άλλα παρόμοια που ακούσαμε σήμερα.

Πρόκειται για πρόκληση γιατί η ΕΕ σε άλλες περιπτώσεις δεν κουράζεται να μιλά για "παραβίαση των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων" και "δημοκρατικών αρχών", όταν χρειάζεται προσχήματα για τις επεμβάσεις προς όφελος των συμφερόντων των μονοπωλίων.


  Ewald Stadler (NI). - Herr Präsident! Ich möchte mich einmal gegen dieses Ungarn-Mobbing aussprechen. Ich glaube, alle, die sich heute in ihren Debattenbeiträgen gegen Ungarn gewendet haben, haben diesen Bericht gar nicht gelesen. Im Anhang heißt es etwa bei der Auflistung des Freiheitsstatus in den Ländern des demokratischen Umbruchs: Ungarn frei! In der Rankingliste über Medien- und Pressefreiheit rangiert Ungarn noch vor Italien auf Platz 56, nicht weit hinter Malta, jedenfalls aber noch vor Griechenland auf Platz 84, vor Bulgarien auf Platz 87 und vor Israel auf Platz 112. Das heißt, objektiv sind alle diese Anwürfe, die heute gegen Ungarn getätigt wurden, nicht haltbar.

Ich möchte mir das Gezeter nicht vorstellen, wenn statt der griechischen Regierung die Regierung Viktor Orbán über Nacht einen öffentlich-rechtlichen Sender geschlossen hätte. Das möchte ich mir nicht anhören! Stattdessen wird es hier den Linken überlassen, dagegen zu protestieren, insbesondere den griechischen Abgeordneten, der Rest schweigt dazu! Kein Protest, keine Sondersitzung, keine Vorladung des griechischen Ministerpräsidenten! Das ist Doppelmoral, wie sie nicht mehr ärger übertroffen werden kann!


  György Schöpflin (PPE). - Mr President, Commissioner, I am quite certain that everyone in this House fully supports media freedom as an essential condition of a properly functioning democracy. The media possess the power to call to account other actors in the political process.

What the report does not touch on, though, is what happens when the media do not use their power with full attention to the responsibility that goes with power; the power to move public opinion, for example, and the power to act in a quasi-judicial capacity.

This problem of accountability is rather less important in countries without democracy or where democracy is under attack. There, what the media do is vital in sustaining civil society and making public information that the rulers prefer to keep secret.

But the situation is much less straightforward in societies with a strong democratic infrastructure. There the media must act with a markedly higher standard of responsibility precisely because they operate in a democratic environment. Yet journalism in democratic society has changed. I speak as a former journalist. The media are less discerning, less committed to original investigative journalism and are much less motivated to keep clear blue water between reporting and passing judgment.

All in all, there is every reason for the media to be subject to the same rules of democracy that all other political actors must observe.


  Μαρία-Ελένη Κοππά (S&D). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, κύριε ειδικέ εκπρόσωπε, θέλω πρώτα απ' όλα να σας καλωσορίσω εδώ και να σας εκφράσω την χαρά μας που είσαστε σήμερα κοντά μας.

Οι κοινωνίες σ' όλο τον κόσμο αντιμετωπίζουν μεγάλες προκλήσεις όσον αφορά την προστασία της δημοσιογραφικής ελευθερίας, βασικό στοιχείο της δημοκρατίας. Για τη δημοκρατία δεν υπάρχει, όταν δεν υπάρχει ελευθερία τύπου, έκφρασης, εικόνας. Οι απειλές, η βία κατά των δημοσιογράφων έχουν έναν μόνο στόχο: να πλήξουν τον πλουραλισμό και την πολυφωνία, και κάθε χώρα που θέλει να λέγεται δημοκρατική, οφείλει να προστατεύει με κάθε τρόπο τους δημοσιογράφους και να εξασφαλίζει το κατάλληλο νομικό πλαίσιο, ώστε να αποδίδονται ποινικές ευθύνες όταν υπάρχουν παραβιάσεις.

Όμως, μου είναι αδύνατον να συνεχίσω να μιλάω για την ελευθερία του τύπου γενικά στον κόσμο και να δίνω μαθήματα στον τρίτο κόσμο, όταν στην ίδια μου την χώρα, την Ελλάδα, ζούμε πρωτοφανείς για ευρωπαϊκή χώρα καταστάσεις με την κατάργηση της δημόσιας ραδιοφωνίας και τηλεόρασης. Από χθες η Ελλάδα, κράτος μέλος της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, με απόφαση της κυβέρνησης είναι η μόνη ευρωπαϊκή χώρα χωρίς δημόσια ραδιοφωνία και τηλεόραση. Καμιά κυβέρνηση, καμιά, δεν έχει το δικαίωμα στο όνομα μιας, αναγκαίας κατά τα άλλα, εξυγίανσης να αφαιρεί από τους πολίτες το δικαίωμα σε μια πλουραλιστική και ουσιαστική ενημέρωση, κάτι που το προσφέρει η δημόσια τηλεόραση και το ραδιόφωνο. Μόνο αυτή προσφέρει την αντικειμενικότητα, την πολυφωνία, την ποιότητα των προγραμμάτων χωρίς το άγχος της τηλεθέασης και ακροαματικότητας.

Θέλω να προσθέσω και άλλο ένα επιχείρημα. Τα απομονωμένα ελληνικά νησιά είχαν πρόσβαση ακόμη και στα ιδιωτικά κανάλια μέσω των πομπών της δημόσιας τηλεόρασης και ραδιοφωνίας. Αυτή τη στιγμή, χιλιάδες κάτοικοι μικρών ελληνικών νησιών ενημερώνονται μόνο μέσω του Ιντερνέτ. Τα χθεσινά γεγονότα παραβιάζουν κατάφωρα την Χάρτα Θεμελιωδών Κοινωνικών Δικαιωμάτων και τις προβλέψεις του Παγκόσμιου Οργανισμού Εργασίας. Η εικόνα που έσβησε απότομα, στις 11 το βράδυ χθες, φέρνει στο μυαλό μας μαύρες σελίδες της ιστορίας μας και δεν ταιριάζει σε χώρα που ανήκει στην ευρωπαϊκή οικογένεια. Κυρίως, όμως, η χθεσινή ακατανόητη πράξη είναι πλήγμα κατά της δημοκρατίας, και αυτό κυρίες και κύριοι δεν μπορεί να γίνει ανεκτό.


  Struan Stevenson (ECR). - Mr President, the persecution and oppression of religious minorities in Iraq should give us all great cause for concern. The ongoing bloody conflict between the Shias and the Sunnis continues to attract the world’s attention while the systematic obliteration of many of the ethnic religious groups goes on virtually without being noticed.

Iraq’s Assyrian Christian community is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to the first century AD. Twenty years ago there were more than one and a half million Christians in Iraq but Saddam Hussein implemented a policy of Arabisation and forcible relocation of the Christian communities in Nineveh in Northern Iraq. Today, with continued violent oppression and attacks, there are fewer than 300 000 Christians left. Hundreds of thousands have fled to the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan. Three hundred and thirty thousand fled to Syria and have been again displaced by the civil war raging in that country, most of them fleeing to Turkey.

It is time that we did something about it. My Delegation for Relations with Iraq will hold a special meeting about the persecution of religious minorities next Thursday.


  Μαριέττα Γιαννάκου (PPE). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, δεν υπάρχει καμιά αμφιβολία ότι η ελευθερία του τύπου, η ελευθερία της έκφρασης και η κοινωνία της πληροφορίας, είναι η μεγαλύτερη κοινωνική επανάσταση του περασμένου αιώνα και, ασφαλώς, των ημερών μας.

Ήθελα να σχολιάσω εκτενώς αυτά που επρόκειτο να συζητήσουμε αλλά, ακούγοντας τους συναδέλφους για την υπόθεση του γεγονότος που συνέβη στην Ελλάδα χθες, θα επιθυμούσα να κάνω το εξής σχόλιο. Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η υπόθεση αυτή είναι μια κίνηση διαχειριστικού καθαρά χαρακτήρα, δεν αποτελεί απομάκρυνση από την ιδέα του να υπάρχει δημόσια τηλεόραση και ο στόχος είναι διττός. Πρώτον, η δημοσιονομική εξυγίανση, πράγμα που γίνεται αποδεκτό απ' όλους, και δεύτερον, η απομάκρυνση από τις πολιτικές και κομματικές επιρροές από τις οποίες έβριθε η κρατική τηλεόραση στην Ελλάδα.

Πολύ σύντομα, έχει ήδη δημοσιευθεί ένα νέο νομοσχέδιο προς διαβούλευση, θα δημιουργηθεί ο νέος φορέας κάτω από μια ανεξάρτητη αρχή η οποία δεν θα επιτρέπει σε κανέναν να κάνει όσα έγιναν στο παρελθόν και όπου, βέβαια, τον λογαριασμό τον πλήρωναν οι έλληνες πολίτες. Αυτή είναι η ψυχρή αλήθεια σε σχέση με την ελληνική τηλεόραση, ας κάνουμε λίγο υπομονή και θα δούμε ότι η Ελλάδα δεν θα είναι η μόνη χώρα της Ευρώπης που δεν θα έχει δημόσια τηλεόραση, την οποία όλοι θέλουμε να έχουμε, αλλά αντικειμενική.

(Ο ομιλητής δέχεται να απαντήσει σε ερώτηση με γαλάζια κάρτα (άρθρο149 παράγραφος 8 του Κανονισμού))


  Thijs Berman (S&D), blue-card question. – I listened to you, colleague, and I have just one question: would you think these are appropriate methods, to put people out from one day to the next and to close down television stations, just like that, as if we were speaking about a coup d’état?

I would say these are methods that are neither accepted by the Social Charter of the European Union, nor by a score of ILO Conventions, and I am amazed that you would just accept them like that.


  Μαριέττα Γιαννάκου (PPE), απάντηση σε "γαλάζια κάρτα". – Μπορεί να διαφωνεί κανείς με το αιφνίδιο του πράγματος και είναι ελεύθερος ο καθένας να έχει την άποψή του, αλλά ας μην υπερβάλλουμε όσον αφορά τη συγκεκριμένη ενέργεια. Μη ξεχνάτε ότι η Ελλάδα βρίσκεται σε μια δημοσιονομική κρίση μονίμως στα πρόθυρα της χρεοκοπίας, και το μόνο που μας δίνει βεβαιότητα είναι η βοήθεια των εταίρων μας στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση. Η κατάσταση στην χώρα μας δεν είναι εύκολη. Οι μισθοί έχουν περικοπεί κατά περίπου 50%. Αντιλαμβάνεστε ότι η ανεργία είναι πάρα πολύ υψηλή, δεν είναι λοιπόν ένα γεγονός αιφνίδιο σε μια δημοκρατία στην οποία τα πάντα είναι ρόδινα και υπάρχει χρήμα και ανάπτυξη. Αναφερόμαστε σε μια χώρα που βρίσκεται σε απόλυτη δυσχέρεια και πρέπει να ξεπεράσει τα προβλήματά της, όχι μόνο για λόγους ελληνικούς, αλλά και γιατί το οφείλει ως μέλος της ζώνης του ευρώ.


  President. − It is rather odd to have to curtail speaking opportunities in a debate on media freedom but I will do it if you do not observe the speaking time.


  Jörg Leichtfried (S&D). - Herr Präsident! Ich werde versuchen, die Zeit einzuhalten und so gut es geht Ihren Aufforderungen zu folgen. Ich möchte der Berichterstatterin Frau Schaake zu ihrem Bericht gratulieren. Es ist ein guter Bericht. In Kombination mit einem Beauftragten wie Stavros Lambrinidis, der seine Arbeit auch sehr gut macht, können wir schon etwas vorweisen. Aber es ist auch wichtig eines zu sagen: Man kann Menschenrechte nur dann durchsetzen, wenn man selbst ein Beispiel für Menschenrechte ist. Ich habe Zweifel, ob die Europäische Union diesen Anspruch in letzter Zeit erfüllen kann.

Es war europäische Software, die die Aufständischen im Arabischen Frühling drangsaliert hat. Es sind Staaten der EU, die einerseits die Pressefreiheit einschränken, wie ein Nachbarstaat von Österreich, den Herr Stadler erstaunlicherweise verteidigt hat, was ich nicht ganz verstehe, oder ein anderer Staat, der seinen öffentlichen Rundfunk einstellt. Wir verhandeln mit einem größeren Staat über die Mitgliedschaft, als ob nichts gewesen wäre, wo gleichzeitig Journalisten eingesperrt werden und eine Öffentlichkeit, die für die Demokratie eintritt, von der Polizei zusammengeschlagen wird. Wir reden mit einem anderen Land, das unsere Bürgerinnen und Bürger ausspioniert, über ein Handelsabkommen und tun so, als ob nichts gewesen wäre. Solange das unsere Politik ist, wird unser Menschenrechtsansatz wahrscheinlich von anderen nicht ganz ernst genommen werden. Wir müssen zuerst einmal vor der eigenen Tür kehren und dann können wir auch viel besser Menschenrechte woanders durchsetzen.

Herr Präsident, das war jetzt genau 1 Minute und dreißig Sekunden.


  Peter van Dalen (ECR). - Voorzitter, terecht besteedt dit jaarverslag van de Europese dienst voor extern optreden veel aandacht aan de godsdienstvrijheid. Ik heb daar drie opmerkingen bij.

In de eerste plaats laat het verslag zien dat de godsdienstvrijheid onder druk staat. Miljoenen mensen in heel veel landen in de wereld worden vervolgd om hun geloof en het probleem wordt nu zo omvangrijk dat dikke verslagen of omvangrijke verklaringen niet meer werken. Het wordt nu tijd dat de hoge vertegenwoordiger actie onderneemt en instrumenten als handelsbeleid en ontwikkelingshulp inzet om echt tegen die onderdrukking te strijden. Dat is één.

Twee. Bij de externe dienst ontbreekt op dit moment een afdeling die zich echt bezig houdt met godsdienstvrijheid. Mijn oproep is: richt zo'n afdeling op die ook de ontwikkelingen kan volgen en concrete acties kan ondernemen.

Ten slotte, – het Europees Parlement zit ook niet stil, u weet dat Voorzitter – we hebben nu een werkgroep in huis die zich richt op godsdienstvrijheid. Ik mag daar covoorzitter van zijn. Ik zeg nogmaals tegen de hoge vertegenwoordiger: wij werken graag met u samen om dat thema van godsdienstvrijheid uit te werken.


  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! W kontekście dzisiejszej debaty chciałbym zwrócić uwagę na sytuację, w jakiej znajdują się dziennikarze w Turcji. Nie chodzi mi tu tylko o te aktualne zamieszki, ale o zwykłą wolność słowa i prawa obywateli do informacji. Jednak nie możemy uciekać od analizy tych zamieszek i powinniśmy zwrócić uwagę na to, że tureckie korporacje medialne nie są zdolne do niezależnego przekazu informacji. Podczas gdy w centrum miasta policja brutalnie tłumiła demonstracje, również przed siedzibami stacji telewizyjnych, prawie wszystkie kanały telewizyjne nadawały filmy dokumentalne czy programy, które nie miały nic wspólnego z aktualną sytuacją w mieście. Skąd taka sytuacja? Myślę, że mimo wszystko jednym z powodów jest zwykły strach. Jako przewodniczący delegacji ad hoc ds. obserwacji procesów dziennikarzy w Turcji na co dzień zajmuję się procesami dziennikarzy, którzy są aresztowani z powodu poruszania w swojej pracy niewygodnych dla władz w Ankarze tematów. Ilu jest takich dziennikarzy? Nie wiadomo. Cały czas nie dysponujemy dokładnymi danymi dotyczącymi liczby dziennikarzy zatrzymanych oraz liczby spraw aktualnie wytoczonych przeciwko dziennikarzom. Niektóre źródła mówią o tym, że Turcja ma obecnie najwyższą liczbę więzionych dziennikarzy na świecie przed Iranem i Chinami. Oczywiście aresztowania nie mogą stać na drodze do rzetelnego przekazu informacji, w końcu wartość wolności słowa i wolności prasy stanowią podstawę, bez której demokracja nie może istnieć.


  Liisa Jaakonsaari (S&D). - Arvoisa puhemies, minun täytyy tunnustaa, että minua ärsyttää erittäin paljon, että ensinnäkin lady Ashton lähti pois ja nyt herra Lambrinidiskin on pois. Puhummeko me seinille, toinen toisillemme? Kuka vastaa meille?

Täällä vallitsee aikamoinen itsetyytyväisyys, ja keskustelu on kyllä osoittanut sen, että tarvitaan ehdottomasti syvällisempää analyysia siitä, mitä Euroopassa todella tapahtuu. Euroopassa loukataan tällä hetkellä ihan meidän perusoikeuksiamme, sananvapautta.

Olisin kysynyt Lambrinidikselta, tunteeko hän yhtään maata Euroopassa, jossa tiedonvälityksen omistuksen keskittymistä ei olisi tapahtunut, jossa itse asiassa toimittajien lähdesuojaa epäillään ja jossa median omistajat käyttävät enemmän valtaa kuin aikaisemmin. Minulle ei tule mieleen, onko yksikään maa tällainen. Puhumattakaan siitä, mitä tapahtuu silloin, kun Euroopan unioni käy neuvotteluja kansainvälisistä sopimuksista. Tällä hetkellä Eurooppa käy esimerkiksi Kazakstanin kanssa neuvotteluja PCA-sopimuksista, ja samaan aikaan kymmeniä toimittajia on pistetty vankilaan, internet-sivuja on suljettu ja vapaata lehdistöä on lakkautettu.

Asiat menevät huonosti. Ne ovat huonommin kuin me tunnustamme itsellemme. Sen takia tämä keskustelu on minusta vähän liian itsetyytyväistä. Olen samaa mieltä kuin edustaja Leichtfried siitä, mitä meidän pitäisi tehdä: enemmän ihan oikeaa todellisuutta ja analyysia siitä, mitä nyt tapahtuu.


  President. − I should like to inform everybody that at the end of the debate Mr Piebalgs will reply on behalf of the Commission and on behalf of Ms Ashton.


  Sajjad Karim (ECR). - Mr President, allow me to start by congratulating our colleague, Marietje Schaake, on her approach to producing this report.

In December 2011 the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy actually came to this House to present her strategic review of human rights in the world. Clearly, that set a direction which is being followed here.

In that debate, I raised the question of a particular geographical area where a multitude of human rights abuses were taking place, and it struck me that it was a case of double standards as the High Representative had not once mentioned that area in her address. She accepted this up to a point and said she understood what I was saying and that she would speak to me about it, although she did not want to answer from the floor of the House.

I reminded her in February 2012 of that commitment, and some 18 months later I really do believe I could be forgiven for taking the view that Kashmir is possibly regarded as too inconvenient an issue. However, the intolerable situation in Kashmir will one day catch us off guard, unprepared – and when that time comes, its people will remind us of our double standards and our silence.

Of course, we currently have ongoing negotiations on the EU-India Free Trade Agreement, and I would like to ask Mr Lambrinidis what he intends to do in terms of those negotiations with the portfolio that he holds.


  Sari Essayah (PPE). - Arvoisa puhemies, maailmassa ei varmaankaan ole olemassa vain yhtä kaikille sopivaa järjestelmää uskonnon ja yhteiskunnan suhteesta. Olennaista on kuitenkin se, että kaikilla kansalaisilla on täysi mielipiteen, omantunnon ja uskonnon vapaus sekä julkisessa että yksityiselämässä. Tätä perusoikeutta EU:n tulee varjella niin täällä omassa kotipesässä kuin pitää siitä huolta myös maailmalla suhteissa kolmansiin maihin, olivatpa ne sitten kaupan alalla taikka naapuruuspolitiikassa.

Uskonnon vapaus on aina nähty uskovien ihmisten suojeluna, ei niinkään näiden uskontojen suojeluna. Oikeus uskoa mitä tahansa ei todellakaan merkitse sitä, että mikä tahansa, johon joku uskoo, olisi oikein. Mielipiteen ja ajattelun ja uskonnon vapaus on absoluuttinen mitä tulee uskomuksiin, mutta rajallinen sen suhteen, mitä tulee ihmisten käyttäytymiseen, koska käyttäytyminen koskettaa myös aina muita ihmisiä. Toisin sanoen rajan ihmisen oikeuksille muodostavat toisen ihmisen vastaavat oikeudet. Toisinaan nämä tasapuoliset oikeudet törmäävät, ja siksi niistä on sitten yhteisesti sovittava.

Erilaisuutta ei pidä mielestäni vähätellä tai yrittää tehdä elämästä julkisessa tilassa hajutonta, mautonta tai niin sanotusti arvovapaata, vaan kasvavien elämänkatsomuksellisten ja kulttuuriristiriitojen kanssa on opeteltava elämään. Eikä se tarkoita sitä, että omasta arvomaailmasta tai kulttuurista pitäisi luopua. Päinvastoin, opittavaa on paljon, jotta maailmasta tulisi parempi paikka meille kaikille erilaisille ihmisille elää.


  Thijs Berman (S&D). - Mr President, freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. It is ‘the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated’ – that is how the UN formulated the importance of freedom of expression in 1946, at its very first session.

More than 60 years later there are still countries where journalism is the most dangerous of all professions. Indeed, for journalists, 2012 was the deadliest year ever registered, with Somalia, Syria, Mexico and Pakistan as the most risky countries. Freedom of information simply does not exist in countries like Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan.

In the case of some countries, where our strategic interests come into play, the EU and the USA show a guilty silence on the lack of respect for human rights. Turkmenistan is such a country, as it is important for us for our access to Afghanistan. This is appalling. Turkmen citizens are waiting for Europe to assume its responsibility and condemn clearly the violation in Turkmenistan of freedoms we are happy to enjoy here.

The added value of the EU as an actor in the world is its potential political weight: it is stronger than the Member States could ever be individually. So let us show this added value, let us help and defend imprisoned journalists, let us defend the freedom of the internet and hold governments to account.

The EU could also do better in assisting the media in developing countries. Journalists are essential in the struggle against corruption, and in striving towards better governance that takes better account of people’s needs, particularly those of the most vulnerable.

This excellent report by my colleague Ms Schaake shows the way. In our negotiations on the future development policy of the EU, freedom of expression is an essential aspect of the human-rights-based approach that the EU should have at the heart of its external action.


  Vytautas Landsbergis (PPE). - Mr President, here in Parliament where we are expected to voice the stand of the entire Union, we often appear in a shaky position because of the political vocabulary we use. The same words – democracy, law, judiciary etc. – contain and express a range of meanings. Law in a democracy and law in a dictatorship, or authoritarianism, are totally different things. They should not, therefore, be referred to in the same terms.

Who will dare to speak, in Brussels or in Ekaterinberg, about the full spectrum of Russia’s undemocratic and oppressive laws – including laws that close down media outlets – and to call them not simply ‘laws’ but, putting it politely, ‘authoritarian laws’? When we are calling for or issuing directives about the rule of law, in relation to some new or mutant dictatorship, the request should refer to the rule of ‘non-authoritarian law’.

I do not need to remind you of the variety of bloody regimes calling themselves, or defining themselves as, democracies – ranging right through to the democracy of cannibals.

Courts, when they are the merely procedural chambers for shaping punishments, in line with phone calls from the highest levels of the executive, should be referred to on paper not as ‘courts’ but rather as ‘specialised chambers of execution’. Despite our talk of democracy as an international principle, a more appropriate way to describe such illegal institutions would be as courts of skull-hunters, torturing their victims with endlessly renewed or additional charges.


  Pino Arlacchi (S&D). - Mr President, I believe that any discussion at EU level on the freedom of the press and media in the world can only be credible if media freedom is safeguarded and respected within the Union itself. We must remind ourselves that, in recent years, some European media have come under scrutiny for unethical and illegal behaviour. For this reason, the Commission should closely monitor the independence of the press within the Member States, while applying a global strategy of transparency and accountability.

Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democracy. For this reason, the press must operate independently and free of political and financial pressure. Too often in Europe we see media empires, controlled or owned by politicians or industrial groups, carrying out misinformation campaigns, with disastrous results for democracy and freedom.

At international level, I agree on the need to adopt a press and media strategy within EU foreign policy, involving in this effort multilateral bodies such as the Council of Europe, the OECD and the United Nations.


  Kinga Gál (PPE). - Minden ember élete egyenlő értékű és fontosságú lakhelytől, életkortól, nemzeti hovatartozástól függetlenül. Emberijog-védők véleménye szerint az Unió intézményei közül a Parlamentet hangja a legerőteljesebb a harmadik országokat érintő emberi jogi sérelmek elleni fellépésben.

Éppen ezért nagyon sajnálom, hogy ezt a mai alkalmat, amikor nagyon komoly kérdésekről lett volna érdemes hosszasan vitázni, arra használták, hogy a magyar média helyzetet elemezzék újra meg újra. Mindenkinek ajánlom, hogy menjen el Magyarországra, kapcsolja be a TV-t, nézze meg az adásokat, olvasson újságot, és akkor meglátja, meggyőződik, hogy milyen a magyar sajtószabadság, és hogy ezt nem kell itt Önöknek ilyen módon félteniük, hiszen ezt másként nem tudom értékelni, mint politikai játéknak.

De visszatérve arra, amiről ma kellene itt szóljon a vita: arról, hogy elengedhetetlen, hogy a Parlament együttműködjön a Külügyi Szolgálattal annak érdekében, hogy az általunk felvetett problémákra, súlyos problémákra a harmadik országbeli jogvédelem területén legyen kézzelfogható megoldás.

Egyben szeretném üdvözölni Andrikiené képviselőtársam ajánlásait is a vallásszabadságról készülő tanácsi anyaghoz. Nagyon fontosnak tartom, hogy az Unió hallassa a hangját a keresztény egyházi üldöztetések ellen, és az ezen vallási jogok melletti kiállásban és védelemben egyaránt.

„Nem elég csak kérdezni, de meg is kell hallgatni” – fogalmaz a most 20 éves „Save the Children”nevű szervezet egyik jelentésében. Meg kell hallgatni a gyermekeket, a nemzeti közösségeket, akiknek anyanyelvhasználata és hagyományaik veszélyben vannak, és vég nélkül lehetne folytatni a sort. Remélem, egyre hatékonyabbá tudunk válni a meghallgatásban és a konkrét cselekvésben egyaránt.


  Michael Cashman (S&D). - Mr President, as a member of the delegation for the observation of trials of journalists in Turkey, I mentioned earlier the situation of journalists who have been imprisoned as terrorists in Turkey simply for carrying out their work as independently as possible. Furthermore, as protests go on, four TV channels were fined today for promoting violence in Gezi Park solely by covering the events.

In several European countries, we have seen the adoption or attempted adoption of laws that limit freedom of expression, including in the press, on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity. These laws label any discussions as ‘gay propaganda’. Fines and imprisonment are provided for against individuals or organisations that support the fundamental rights of LGBT people.

Yesterday in Russia, the Duma adopted a homophobic federal law banning the so-called propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations. This is part of a wider systematic crackdown on Russian LGBT people and civil society movements in general, and hate speech from Putin and others has resulted in the barbaric killing of gay men. Shame on you, Putin! Shame on you!

In Africa, state homophobia increases. We are also seeing laws under consideration in Moldova, Ukraine, and even in Lithuania and Hungary. This is unacceptable and uncivilised.

So I ask the Commission, Member States and the External Action Service to systematically express the EU’s strongest opposition to laws that restrict freedom of expression, which, for instance, target sexual orientation and gender identity.

A word on religion and belief: religion and belief are intensely personal and private. They should never be imposed upon others, especially where such imposition diminishes the human rights and civil liberties of others. Thank you.


  Eduard Kukan (PPE). - Naša dnešná debata o ľudských právach, občianskych slobodách a budovaní demokracie je dobre načasovaná. Dva roky po Arabskej jari eufória z jednej z najväčších zmien poslednej dekády pomaly opadá a nahrádzajú ju frustrácia a sklamanie z pocitu, že krajiny nejdú najlepším smerom. Demokratické zmeny nie sú dostatočné a dejú sa pomaly. Rok 2012 nám ukázal a pripomenul, že demokracia potrebuje inštitúcie, ktoré jej dovoľujú rásť. A tiež aj spoločenské podmienky, ktoré zaručujú ochranu ľudských práv a občianskych slobôd.

EÚ musí preto zohrávať vedúcu úlohu v podpore demokracie, a to predovšetkým vo svojom susedstve a v krajinách uchádzajúcich sa o členstvo v Európskej únii. Mali by sme byť v tomto smere razantnejší a efektívnejší. Nemali by sme znižovať svoje požiadavky týkajúce sa fungovania demokratických inštitúcií, právneho štátu a občianskych slobôd, a to predovšetkým v krajinách, ktoré sú v našom najbližšom susedstve. Skúsenosti nám ukázali, že trvajúca stabilita a prosperita sú založené predovšetkým na zhode a legitimite, nie na represii. Neexistuje jednotný model demokracie, každá krajina má svoju vlastnú cestu, avšak rešpektovanie ľudských práv a občianskych slobôd je univerzálnou hodnotou, ktorá je základom všetkých legitímnych politických systémov.


  Zita Gurmai (S&D). - Mr President, I am very happy to see Stavros, my former colleagues and my former minister here. Democracy cannot exist – inside the EU or outside – without free, independent and pluralistic media. It is therefore with growing concern that we witness increasing threats of a different nature against press freedom across the world. Nothing, not even the fight against terrorism, can be used as a pretext for hampering press freedom and media pluralism. Such measures will not achieve their objective in any case, but they will definitely undermine democratic structures.

We have seen the key role of the media in the democratic transition of the Arab world. Facilitating free and equal access to information for everyone can protect and strengthen democracy, the rule of law and the enforcement of fundamental human rights.

In order for the EU to remain credible and contribute to safeguarding press freedom and media pluralism, it should lead by example on the world stage. The EU needs a coherent and strategic vision on the issue of press freedom in order to be able to efficiently promote these values in other parts of the world among our international partners, when it becomes necessary. But everybody must put their own house in order. Therefore, the EU must be willing and able to make sure that these fundamental values are respected within its borders.


  Tunne Kelam (PPE). - Mr President, I would like to support what Ms Jaakonsaari has just said. We need deeper analysis of all the topics we are speaking about today because things tend to be worse than we like to think.

Conviction-based persecution is a growing phenomenon all over the world, and we cannot differentiate in defending different religious beliefs. However, people of Christian beliefs seem to be increasingly endangered. Last year, persecution of Christians in about 60 countries resulted in 1 200 deaths, 2 100 cases of physical aggression and more than 1 000 arrests, with 280 churches destroyed and more than 240 closed by force.

We were made keenly aware of the recent Boston bomb attacks. Yet in Nigeria alone last year there were at least half a dozen religiously motivated deadly attacks, every one of which caused more damage than the Boston bombings.

We should be especially attentive to people’s right fully to exercise their freedom of religion or belief. Therefore, we first need to promote the right of religion or belief as a priority in EU external policies. There is a need to mainstream this in all our relations with third countries. Secondly, freedom of belief should be fostered and fully guaranteed.


  Lena Kolarska-Bobińska (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Duża część sprawozdania, nad którym będziemy jutro głosować, dotyczy wspierania i ochrony wolności mediów na całym świecie, ale musimy pamiętać, że aby skutecznie wspierać tę wolność, Unia Europejska sama musi dbać o swoją wiarygodność. Zobowiązania dotyczące mediów i pluralizmu zawarte w Karcie praw podstawowych muszą być więc realizowane we wszystkich krajach. Tylko wtedy będziemy mogli skutecznie wspierać kraje kandydujące, państwa Partnerstwa Wschodniego i inne kraje na świecie. Tymczasem taki przypadek jak Grecja będzie nam wytykany, wypominany i będziemy się jego wstydzili przez wiele lat. To odbiera nam wiarygodność.

Osobnej troski wymagają media lokalne i chciałam na to zwrócić uwagę. Tam nie ma co prawda bezpośredniego kneblowania ust dziennikarzom, ale mamy do czynienia z zależnością finansową, która często powoduje, że dziennikarze tych mediów nie piszą, nie mówią i nie mają poczucia, że żyją w wolnym kraju. I właśnie ta zależność finansowa od różnych kacyków lokalnych działa jak kaganiec. Korzystając z tej okazji, chciałam też podkreślić rolę, jaką w różnego rodzaju forach międzynarodowych odgrywają nie tylko agendy rządowe, ale przede wszystkim organizacje dziennikarskie, takie jak Stowarzyszenie Dziennikarzy Europejskich.


  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). - Doresc să mă refer la raportul Andrikienė privind promovarea şi protejarea libertăţii religioase, a convingerilor şi credinţei. O felicit pe raportoare, pe Laima Andrikienė, pentru acest raport extrem de convingător. Instrumentul european pentru democraţie şi drepturile omului, pentru care sunt raportor al Grupului PPE, este principalul instrument de promovare şi sprijinire a libertăţii religioase şi a convingerilor, în cadrul programelor Uniunii Europene pentru drepturile omului.

Aş dori să precizez că sunt profund îngrijorată de situaţia creştinilor, printre altele, a celor din Irak, Egipt, Kazahstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan. De exemplu, în Pakistan, două fetiţe au fost condamnate la moarte în ultimii doi ani, după ce au fost acuzate de blasfemie. Una dintre aceste fetiţe, în vârstă de 14 ani, este în continuare în închisoare, acuzată că a ars un Coran. Săptămâna trecută, corpul torturat al unui băiat creştin de 11 ani a fost găsit abandonat în regiunea Punjab. Autorităţile din Pakistan nu pot să lase lucrurile aşa, iar noi nu trebuie să îi lăsăm să lase lucrurile aşa. Trebuie să o elibereze pe Masih Bhatti şi să ia măsuri pentru a proteja minoritatea creştină din Pakistan.


  Mariya Gabriel (PPE). - Monsieur le Président, le rapport annuel des droits de l'homme est toujours d'une extrême importance. D'une part, il nous permet de faire le point chaque année sur la situation dans le monde, mais, d'autre part, il témoigne à chaque fois de l'engagement profond, durable et sérieux de notre Union pour défendre les valeurs universelles.

Le cas syrien, le cas congolais, tout comme d'autres qui nous préoccupent, font ressortir au moins deux priorités. Premièrement, il nous faut, avec la communauté internationale, des mécanismes enfin fonctionnels d'alerte précoce et des instruments opérationnels de prévention des violations des droits de l'homme. À ce titre, nous avons un représentant spécial de l'Union pour les droits de l'homme. Il est nécessaire de continuer à donner des moyens financiers, humains et logistiques à notre représentant spécial pour accroître la visibilité de son action et ainsi, faire face aux attentes de la société, c'est-à-dire de la cohérence et de la force politique à notre travail pour les droits de l'homme.

Deuxième priorité, il nous faut renforcer la lutte contre l'impunité. Sur ce point, qu'en est-il de la position de l'Union européenne à l'égard des États qui refusent de coopérer avec la Cour pénale internationale? Nous devons encourager ceux qui travaillent pour renforcer le sentiment de justice chez les victimes des violations des droits de l'homme. Mais nous ne devons pas non plus hésiter à envoyer des messages clairs lorsque ce n'est pas le cas.


  Barbara Matera (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, come membro della delegazione ad hoc di questo Parlamento, per osservare i processi ai giornalisti in Turchia, esprimo la mia profonda preoccupazione per gli eventi di questi giorni e le limitazioni della libertà di espressione e di assemblea a Istanbul e in altre città turche.

L'UE non può rimanere impassibile di fronte a ripetute violazioni di diritti fondamentali in un paese in via di adesione proprio come la Turchia: ci sono state decine di arresti di giornalisti accusati di divulgare false informazioni riguardanti le manifestazioni di piazza contro il governo; centinaia di giornalisti sono in carcere in Turchia per attività legate al giornalismo e accusati invece di altre pene; ci sono centinaia di giornalisti in carcere per divulgazione di notizie sulla mancanza di libertà della minoranza turca curda in Turchia.

L'Unione deve giocare un ruolo più efficace e incisivo nella promozione della libertà di espressione, ma con l'assenza della Ashton – permettetemi di dire – sarà davvero impossibile, perché il rappresentante che ci risponderà da qui a poco, sicuramente non è nel suo cervello, non sa il suo pensiero. Quindi mi dispiace parlare e non avere il l'Ashton qui presente.


  Roberta Angelilli (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, oggi parliamo di libertà di stampa e dei media nel mondo, pensando in particolare ai paesi dove non c'è la democrazia o alle zone di conflitto. Essere giornalista vuol dire anche essere in prima linea nella lotta per i diritti umani, anche per questo mi unisco all'appello lanciato dalla Federazione internazionale per la libertà di tutti i giornalisti, impediti o in ostaggio nelle aree del conflitto siriano.

Penso anche al giornalista italiano, Domenico Quirico, lo scorso giovedì dopo due mesi ha dato sue notizie, ma ci auguriamo soprattutto che torni presto libero dalla sua famiglia e a svolgere il suo lavoro; parlando di libertà di stampa il pensiero va anche ai 2 800 dipendenti della televisione e radio pubblica in Grecia, la cui chiusura è stata annunciata ieri. Una notizia scioccante, mi domando se siano stati rispettati i diritti dei lavoratori e se tale decisione per tempistica e modalità non rappresenti un vulnus alla libertà di informazione.


  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, non v'è dubbio che la libertà della stampa, la libertà dei media, la libertà di espressione rappresenti un valore assoluto della nostra civiltà. È pur vero, le attività che sono state svolte sul punto fanno emergere chiaramente che in molte realtà, talvolta non lontane dai territori degli Stati membri, negli stessi Stati membri, lo svolgimento di una vita democratica non è sempre sostenuto da un'adeguata e completa informazione, ma la tutela dei diritti indisponibili alla vita, all'autodeterminazione, alle scelte e alla religione invece impone un pluralismo informativo.

Per questo vi è assoluto bisogno anche di un giornalismo investigativo, di giornalisti che non abbiano paura di dire le cose che pensano, nel rispetto della verità e dell'integrità morale di questi giornalisti che va tutelata, così come va rafforzato il dialogo e la cooperazione con quelle parti del mondo, alcune già segnalate e ancora distanti dal rispetto di standard minimi accettabili di informazione. L'informazione è un diritto sacrosanto che serve a migliorare il contesto civile nel quale sviluppiamo la nostra attività.


„Catch the eye” eljárás


  Csaba Sógor (PPE). - Fontos a vallás- és lelkiismereti szabadságra vonatkozó iránymutatások kidolgozása, hiszen a világ számos részén komoly fenyegetettségnek és üldöztetésnek vannak kitéve a vallási kisebbségek.

Az Európai Uniónak az Alapjogi Chartában megfogalmazott alapvető emberi jogok szellemét külső fellépései során is szem előtt kell tartania. A leghatásosabb eszköz ezen alapjogok külső érvényesítésére az, ha az európai államok mindegyikében biztosítják azokat. Nem léteznek kivételek és átértelmezések, nincsen kettős mérce, nincsenek kiszolgáltatva pártpolitikai harcoknak az alapjogok érvényesülését értékelő mechanizmusok.

A vallásszabadság olyan érték, amelyet a keresztény gyökerű Európa véres háborúk árán tanult meg tisztelni. A vallásszabadság Európában közelebbről az Erdélyi Fejedelemségben született, európai találmány, ugyanakkor keresztény érték. Éppen ezért európaiként és keresztényként kötelességünk hirdetni, terjeszteni és védelmezni, ha kell.


  Маруся Любчева (S&D). - Създаването на насоки за насърчаване на свободата на религията или убежденията е важна инициатива на Европейския съюз. В приложното им поле се пресичат различни аспекти и интереси. Най-важното е да се осигури свободата за изповядване на религиозните убеждения. В прилагането на насоките следва да се имат предвид и националните правозащитни механизми, които, запазвайки картата на религиозното многообразие, трябва да позволят толерантност към религиозните убеждения. Понякога именно многообразието, особено различни новообразувани религиозни движения, могат да създадат обществен дискомфорт на определени групи от населението. Гражданите трябва да бъдат достатъчно информирани и образовани за избягване на всякакви спекулации, преднамерено нарушаване на правата им от страна на религиозни структури. Родителите могат да предават на децата си своите религиозни убеждения. Те са отговорни в определена степен за религиозното възпитание, но не малко в това отношение могат да правят различни организации и структури, не всички от които добронамерени. Има редица примери за предаване на религиозни убеждения в семейството, които не са благоприятни за децата, както и примери, при които различни религиозни структури оказват негативно влияние и нарушават правата на гражданите.


  Licia Ronzulli (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, prevedere la reclusione per il reato di diffamazione impedisce la completa realizzazione del principio della libertà di espressione, con gravi ripercussioni sull'efficacia e la completezza delle comunicazioni in tutta Europa. Ancora troppi paesi membri adottano normative eccessivamente rigide e punitive: in Italia, per esempio, negli ultimi mesi due direttori di giornali, Alessandro Sallusti e Giorgio Mulé, sono stati condannati a pene detentive per il reato di diffamazione od omesso controllo.

La Commissione e il Consiglio devono adottare decisioni forti per sensibilizzare gli Stati membri e depenalizzare subito il reato di diffamazione, garantendo la piena libertà di espressione, il diritto dei cittadini a essere adeguatamente informati e la tutela dell'onore dei soggetti coinvolti. Sì quindi a sanzioni forti, che prevedono anche la radiazione quando la diffamazione è certa e provata, no a pene detentive, punitive e non rieducative.

Preannuncio per questo, che avendo già raccolto più delle 40 firme richieste, presenterò un'interrogazione alla Commissione europea, chiedendo un dibattito in Aula per la sessione plenaria di luglio.


  Ana Gomes (S&D). - Mr President, Marietje Schaake’s report is truly important, and it is in this context that I would like to raise the situation in Ethiopia, where there are hundreds of journalists in jail, among thousands of political prisoners.

President Barroso was recently in Ethiopia. What did he do? Did he press for their release? Why do we not know anything about that? Why do we not hear the EU saying anything about the horrific crimes committed by the Ethiopian military and paramilitary forces against the civilian population in the Ogaden region, about which I have sent a report to you, Commissioner Piebalgs?

Are you aware that in Angola – where we have a joint forward agreement that is supposed to bring to the table civil society, i.e. the people who are defending human rights and fighting against corruption – journalist Rafael Marques de Morais has had criminal charges brought against him by the Government for publishing the book Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola about horrific crimes against the people in the Lunda provinces, the diamond-rich area? Why is the EU silent? This question is very relevant in the context of our debate today and I want to hear the reply.




  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE). - Arvoisa puhemies, viime vuonna tässä väittelyssä tärkeänä pidettiin etenkin sitä, että naapuruuspolitiikan instrumentit vastaavat paremmin arabikevään jälkeisiä tarpeita ja että EU tiivistää politiikkaansa eteläisen Välimeren alueella. Korostettiin erityisesti EU:n tarvetta keskittyä kansalaisyhteiskunnan tukemiseen. Niinpä syntyi niin sanottu ”civil society facility” ja eteläisen Välimeren erityisedustaja. Nämä ovat erittäin tervetulleita.

Arabikevään vaikutukset eivät ole olleet aina toivottuja ja monien ihmisoikeuksien tila, etenkin naisten ja vähemmistöjen oikeudet, ovat huonontuneet. Tämän olen nähnyt omin silmin, esimerkiksi Egyptissä. Meidän onkin varmistettava, että vastaamme tarvittavalla tavalla etenkin omassa naapurustossamme ja hakijavaltioissa, kuten Turkissa. Meidän on oltava rehellisiä itsellemme: joskus laajentumisnäkymä voi todella parantaa ihmisoikeustilannetta, joskus logiikka ei riitä täydelliseen demokratisoitumiseen.

Kansalaisyhteiskunnan edustajat ovat myös sanoneet, etteivät EU:n ihmisoikeusraportit vastaa todellista tilannetta. Kansalaisjärjestöt, joita konsultoidaan, eivät välttämättä edusta yleistä konsensusta. Toivon, että tämä otetaan paremmin huomioon tulevaisuudessa.


(Fine degli interventi su richiesta)


  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I would like to start by thanking the honourable Members for their wide-ranging and very powerful interventions. I am grateful for the honourable Members’ recognition of the initial steps that the EU has already taken to implement the EU’s Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights. However, I recognise that much still needs to be done.

I believe there are three themes that will need to be addressed stemming from today’s debate. Firstly, it is necessary to address human rights consistently in all EU policies. Human rights and governance are also a core focus of EU development cooperation, and the European External Action Service and DEVCO are working together to step up a rights-based approach to development assistance.

At the same time, we also know that poverty alleviation is one of the issues that allow us to address human rights more sustainably. It is also clear that other areas – trade has been mentioned, as has migration policy – should step up a gear in order to respond to the human rights approach. But rest assured that my colleagues are really doing everything they can in their areas to support a human-rights-based approach, and we are very unselfish in our approaches. We make a case if it needs to be made, and our policy is definitely an example to the world.

I would like to mention just one example: this House has adopted the Commission’s proposal for transparency in the extractive industries. It is a world-leading proposal that provides for the necessary elements in the fight against corruption.

The second issue is – as several Members have pointed out – that it is essential that you raise human rights violations robustly with third countries. Each case must be judged on its own merits. We are sometimes faced with a challenge, and we need to react more robustly and swiftly. Honourable Members can rest assured that the EU raises human rights consistently with all of our partner countries and at the highest political level, including with Ethiopia.

We have an even broader approach that is not just about responding to concrete cases. There is a political dialogue with Asian countries and with ACP countries, where it comes under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, where we address not only particular cases, but also systemic issues like media freedom, democracy, human rights and civil society.

It is also clear that there are new challenges coming, and there are some trends that need to be addressed. One that was very worrying was media freedom. It is true that it is more concentrated. It is true that in many countries, governments believe that the media do not help in their reform policies. It is very clear that we need to be more strategic in this approach. In this respect, we are already working towards making our support for freedom of expression much stronger in our delegation guidelines.

Michael Cashman mentioned issues with LGBTI rights. This is really worrying. It is true that laws exist in many countries which stem from colonialist times, but it is definitely not in accordance with the spirit of the time. The fight for LBGTI community rights is one of the focuses of today’s policy, and we are also preparing guidelines for our delegations on how to address this issue and how to make this case very strong and powerful.

Last but not least, I would like to welcome the European Parliament’s contribution to human rights, democracy and freedom of press and media – the Sakharov Prize, ‘urgency debates’ and the work of the human rights subcommittee. All of these are invaluable in drawing attention to the violation of human rights and giving us additional arguments when working with our partner countries for human rights, democracy and media freedom.

We look forward to carrying forward our work with Parliament this year and in the years ahead. It is also great that you have allowed the Special Representative for Human Rights to be here to participate in the debate. Seeing his interactions this year, I can assure you that he is available for all individual questions that you may have, and for other external activities that we carry out under his leadership.

As regards human rights, democracy and media freedom, there are good days, and there are upsetting days. However, this does not sway our will to put these questions at the forefront of our policies. Thank you.


  Laima Liucija Andrikienė, pranešėja. − Ačiū visiems kolegoms, kalbėjusiems šioje diskusijoje dėl pranešimo apie Europos Sąjungos gaires dėl religijos ir tikėjimo laisvės. Atsiprašau, kad dėl rimtų priežasčių negalėjau visą laiką būti šioje salėje, tačiau norėčiau pateikti dar keletą apibendrinančių pastabų.

Kai kurie kolegos kalbėjo apie teisę atsisakyti veikti dėl religinių įsitikinimų ir tai, kaip ji atspindėta mūsų rekomendacijų projekte. Ji apima asmens teisę į aiškiai apibrėžtą atsisakymą veikti dėl asmeninių, religinių įsitikinimų, kai tai susiję su kitais moraliniu požiūriu opiais klausimais.

Noriu priminti, kad Europos Taryba šių metų balandžio 24 d. priimtoje rezoliucijoje ragina valstybes nares užtikrinti teisę į griežtai apibrėžtą atsisakymą veikti dėl vidinių įsitikinimų, moralinio požiūrio opiais klausimais, pavyzdžiui, dėl karinės tarnybos, taip pat, kai tai susiję su sveikatos priežiūra ir švietimu. Taigi mūsų projekte esanti rekomendacijų nuostata visiškai atitinka Europos Tarybos poziciją. Juo labiau kad yra akcentuojama tai, jog teisė atsisakyti veikti dėl tokių įsitikinimų privalo būti griežtai ir aiškiai apibrėžta, tokiu būdu užkertant kelią perdėm laisvoms interpretacijoms, diskriminacijai ir piktnaudžiavimui šia teise.

Kitas svarbus aspektas – auklėjimas ir švietimas. Mūsų tikslas – atkreipti dėmesį į tai, kad, kaip nustatyta pagal tarptautiniu mastu pripažintus standartus, vaiko tėvai ar teisėti globėjai gali laisvai užtikrinti, kad jų vaikas religijos mokymą gautų pagal jų religinius ar moralinius įsitikinimus. Ši nuostata yra įtvirtinta ir Jungtinių Tautų deklaracijoje dėl visų formų netolerancijos ir diskriminacijos dėl religijos ar įsitikinimų panaikinimo.


  Presidente. − La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione si svolgerà domani, giovedì 13 giugno, alle 12.00.


  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), în scris. – Respectarea principiilor democrației și pluralismului nu poate fi realizată fără existenţa unei mass-media tradiţionale sau on-line liberă, independentă și pluralistă. Menținerea și consolidarea libertății și a independenței mass-mediei nu doar în Europa, ci şi în întreaga lume constituie un interes comun al tuturor ţărilor. Este şi motivul pentru care se impune existența unor autorități de reglementare independente, tocmai pentru a asigura structuri mediatice de bază deschise și favorabile. Consider totodată, că Uniunea trebuie să își asume un rol de lider în asigurarea independenței, pluralismului și diversității media și în apărarea statutului, libertății și securității jurnaliștilor și a bloggerilor, să susțină crearea unui mediu propice și să elimine restricțiile libertății de exprimare la nivel global, lucruri esențiale pentru ca UE să fie considerată o comunitate de valori. Pe de altă parte, Uniunea Europeană trebuie să demonstreze că este o autoritate politică maximă, pentru a asigura protecția jurnaliștilor la nivel global, având în vedere faptul că mulți jurnaliști nu au acces la asistență juridică, deși profesia lor se află din ce în ce mai frecvent în prima linie în lupta pentru drepturile omului, în mediul online sau în presa tradiţională.


  Tanja Fajon (S&D), pisno. – Svoboda izražanja in svobodni mediji, sta eni izmed naših najbolj dragocenih pravic, sta nepogrešljiv element vsake demokratične družbe in temelj človekovega dostojanstva. Svobodni in pluralistični mediji ne smejo biti v rokah politike. Ohranjanje in krepitev svobode in neodvisnosti medijev po vsem svetu je naš skupni interes. To, kar se je včeraj zgodilo v Grčiji, je groba kršitev človekovih pravic, je ignoriranje svobode izražanja in manipulacija z ljudstvom. Zaprtje javne radiotelevizije je napad na demokracijo, saj sta obstoj kakovostnega javnega servisa in njegova neodvisnost od politike srčika vsake demokratične družbe. Ne smemo dovoliti, da ekonomska kriza javne servise sili v uredniško odvisnost od politike in kapitala, izkoriščanje zaposlenih, ogrožanje kakovosti informacij in financiranja, kaj šele, da le politika oziroma posamezni ministri odločajo sami o zaprtju javne radiotelevizije brez kakršnekoli odprte in demokratične javne razprave. Takšna politika zategovanja pasu, ki ne le, da znižuje javna sredstva in javne medije, temveč jih celo ukinja in je politično motivirana ter ogroža svobodo medijev in pluralizem. Ne smemo dovoliti, da bomo po Grčiji priča podobnim scenarijem tudi v drugih državah. Zato moramo stalno opozarjati na pomen in vlogo svobodnih, pluralističnih in neodvisnih medijev, posebej javnih servisov, ki morajo še bolj paziti na uravnoteženo poročanje o politiki, in svobodo izražanja kot pravico in ne privilegij.


  Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu (S&D), în scris. – Salut raportul Schaake referitor la libertatea presei şi a mass-mediei în lume. Rolul jucat de platformele online în lupta împotriva regimurilor dictatoriale din ultimii ani au demonstrat importanţa presei pentru facilitarea democraţiei în lume. Este esenţial pentru UE să recunoască rolul major pe care îl joacă mass-media liberă, atât presa tradiţională, cât şi cea online, în informarea corectă şi completă a populaţiei, cât şi în menţinerea democraţiei. Nu numai că dreptul la libertatea de exprimare este un drept fundamental, dar este în interesul nostru al tuturor, de a consolida libertatea şi independenţa mass-mediei în lume. Totuşi, nu trebuie ignorat rolul pe care anumite platforme îl au în instigarea oamenilor la activităţi teroriste şi, în acest sens, UE trebuie să ia măsuri ferme. Comisia trebuie să monitorizeze strict independenţa presei în statele membre şi trebuie să acorde atenţia necesară respectării libertăţii de exprimare în toate acordurile bilaterale pe care le semnează.


  Valdemar Tomaševski (ECR), raštu. – Pagal tarptautinės teisės standartus visos valstybės privalo užtikrinti veiksmingą piliečių apsaugą nuo persekiojimo dėl išpažįstamos religijos ar įsitikinimų. Ši diskriminacija vis dar egzistuoja visuose pasaulio regionuose. Ypatingą nerimą kelia smurtas ir teisiniai apribojimai, kurie yra taikomi krikščionių bendruomenėms. Pranešime pabrėžiama Europos Sąjungos būtinybė smerkti visas smurto ir diskriminacijos formas išpažįstamos religijos ar įsitikinimų srityje. Pranešime taip pat skatinama stiprinti tikinčiųjų teisinę apsaugą trečiose šalyse. Vertas dėmesio įrašas, kuris ragina propaguoti tvirtesnę religijos laisvę bei skatina gerbti asmens įsitikinimus Europos Sąjungos institucijų ir valstybių narių darbuose. Deja, šio įrašo nėra visiškai laikomasi net Europos Parlamente, ir tai patiria jo nariai. Šio reiškinio pavyzdžiai yra du mano rašytiniai pareiškimai, susiję su gyvybės ir šeimos vertybių apsauga Europoje, kurie net nebuvo užregistruoti. Nurodyta priežastis buvo mano suformuluoti raginimai dėl gyvybės apsaugos nuo pastojimo iki natūralios mirties, kurie kilo atsižvelgiant į mano pasaulėžiūrą. Taigi, EP sekretoriatas ne tik pažeidė žodžio laisvę ir EP narių veiklos nepriklausomybę, bet ir pritaikė cenzūrą teisei laisvai laikytis savo įsitikinimų ir saviraiškos. Pagarbos religiniams įsitikinimams, nurodytiems pranešime, patariama reikalauti iš tam tikrų EP biurokratų. Nuoširdžiai tikiuosi, kad mano ankščiau minėtas rašytinis pareiškimas bus užregistruotas trečią kartą.

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