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Postopek : 2012/0201(COD)
Potek postopka na zasedanju
Potek postopka za dokument : A7-0242/2013

Predložena besedila :

A7-0242/2013

Razprave :

PV 10/09/2013 - 22
CRE 10/09/2013 - 22

Glasovanja :

PV 11/09/2013 - 5.9
CRE 11/09/2013 - 5.9
Obrazložitev glasovanja
Obrazložitev glasovanja

Sprejeta besedila :

P7_TA(2013)0358

Razprave
Torek, 10. september 2013 - Strasbourg Pregledana izdaja

22. Ogrožanje medijske svobode in nadzor državljanov (zadeva Miranda) (razprava)
Video posnetki govorov
PV
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  Elnök. − A következő napirendi pont a Tanács és a Bizottság nyilatkozatai – A tömegtájékoztatás szabadságát fenyegető veszélyek és a polgárok megfigyelése (a Miranda ügy). (2013/2825(RSP))

Tájékoztatom a képviselőket, hogy e vita végén nem kerül sor „Catch the eye” eljárásra, és a vita közben sincs kékkártyás kérdésekre lehetőség.

 
  
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  Linas Antanas Linkevičius, President-in-Office of the Council. − Mr President, it is not very easy to respond on this issue. The Council is well aware of the concerns which have been expressed by a number of Members of this House over the recent case in the UK relating to the possession of classified information. However, the Council has not discussed this issue and has not adopted any position on it.

So Members will appreciate that, as the Presidency, I am speaking on behalf of the Council as a whole and cannot do otherwise. It follows that I am not able to make any substantive comments on a matter which is the responsibility of governments and Member States.

Furthermore, I should also mention that the issue which you have chosen to discuss this afternoon is the subject of an ongoing police inquiry. It would therefore be inappropriate for me, as a representative of the Council, to contribute to this afternoon’s discussion. I am sure that you will understand that this is not due to reluctance on my part and of the Presidency to engage with this House, but is a function of the office of the Council Presidency and the competence of the Council, and indeed of the EU as a whole.

I can, of course, assure Members that I will pay close attention to everything that is said during this debate and will listen carefully. It is also very valuable to be present here. With your understanding, those will be all the comments made on behalf of the Council.

 
  
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  Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, media freedom and pluralism matter. There is no doubt about that, and we are very concerned by the severe challenges to them.

We are constantly confronted with calls for action from citizens and the European Parliament. The EU should be a role model on media freedom – a beacon of freedom to our own citizens and others. Freedom of expression is an essential foundation of democracy, enshrined in the European Convention and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. We are committed to ensuring that this freedom is fully respected by Member States when they implement Union law. People must be free to hold opinions; they must have the freedom to receive and give out information without constant interference, and that includes the freedom of journalists to carry out their work.

Of course, freedom of expression is not absolute – for example, if public safety or national security or other rights are at stake – but limitations must be necessary and proportionate. They must be in accordance with the law and they must be justified in a democratic society.

Some have expressed serious doubts about the case of David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, and particularly about whether his detention for nine hours and the searching and confiscation of his possessions were proportionate and justified. That particular case is under judicial review in the UK courts and, where relevant, the review will draw on EU law and on the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

Of course, where there are ongoing proceedings, the Commission cannot take a position on questions of law in a particular case, but I do want to assure you about the wider work we are undertaking in the area of media freedom and pluralism.

I have long been concerned about these issues and I asked the High Level Group of Experts to advise me. They found, among other things, a need to ensure independent monitoring of media freedom and pluralism and a need to strengthen the independence of audiovisual regulators etc. Earlier this year we consulted on these and other issues and we are already taking action. For example, we are piloting a project on an independent tool to monitor Member States’ media pluralism via the European Institute in Florence – a project first put forward by the European Parliament, I might add. We can expect the first results in the spring of next year.

We have also just published a call for projects concerning an independent European Centre for Press and Media Freedom – a centre to gather data on threats to journalists and provide them with help if needed.

Democracies need a space in which people can challenge the status quo and uphold accountability. A free and pluralistic media sector does that well, and that is why we must promote and foster it. It goes to the heart of our democracy and our values and it is vital to preserve it.

 
  
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  Manfred Weber, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin, Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Wir leben in einem freien, einem offenen Europa, und wir sind stolz darauf! Deswegen blickt man zunächst schon etwas verständnislos auf die Nachricht, dass David Miranda lange festgehalten, gefilzt und untersucht worden ist, fast wie ein Krimineller. Das führt bei vielen zu Kopfschütteln. Wenn man dann auch um den Hintergrund weiß, dass es um die Snowden-Veröffentlichungen geht, dass es um journalistische Kontakte geht, dann stellt sich natürlich die Frage: Will man Druck auf Journalisten ausüben, um sie gefügiger zu machen? Will man die Medienfreiheit in irgendeiner Form angehen oder nicht? Dieser Eindruck entsteht, wenn man sich den Fall anschaut. Deswegen kann ich die britischen Behörden nur bitten, in diesen Fällen vorsichtig und sensibel vorzugehen und diesen Eindruck gar nicht erst entstehen zu lassen.

Erstens deswegen: Umgang mit der Person ist zu diskutieren, und als Zweites: Möglicher Druck auf Medien ist schlicht inakzeptabel. Aber – und das füge ich auch im Namen der EVP-Fraktion hinzu – jeder Staat hat das Recht, Regeln zu definieren, z. B. die Regel, bestimmte Dokumente als sensible, geheime Dokumente einzustufen, sie zu klassifizieren. Und wenn der Vorwurf im Raum steht, dass bestimmte Personen solche klassifizierten Dokumente außer Landes bringen wollen, sie anders verwenden wollen, dann ist das ein Rechtsbruch. Dann widerspricht das dem nationalen Recht, das dort, in Großbritannien, im dortigen Parlament von Parlamentariern definiert worden ist. Dann hat auch die britische Autorität – die britischen Behörden – das Recht, diese bestehende Rechtsgrundlage im Alltag zu prüfen. Die Rechtslage ist im britischen Parlament rechtsstaatlich geschaffen worden und deswegen steht es auch den Behörden zu, das zu kontrollieren.

Wenn man jetzt beide Seiten zusammenführt, kommt man zu dem, was die Kommissarin ausgeführt hat, nämlich zur Verhältnismäßigkeit. Ist das, was dort geschehen ist, verhältnismäßig? Das liegt jetzt in der Hand der britischen Justiz, die unabhängig über diesen Fall zu urteilen hat. Ich möchte aber nochmals zum Ausdruck bringen, Druck auf Journalisten ist schlicht und einfach inakzeptabel!

 
  
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  Claude Moraes, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, I think the Council statement revealed the question of why we are here and why we are listening to a statement on what was essentially a UK act, under the Terrorism Act 2000, where an individual was detained. The reason we are here is that there was doubt as to whether that UK Act was being proportionately and correctly implemented. In the words of a former Attorney General, the use of that power was both not proportionate and incorrectly used.

When an examining officer knows that someone is not a terrorist, they cannot detain that person under that Act. This is why, across the political spectrum, there was severe doubt as to whether David Miranda should have in fact been detained for the maximum nine hours when it was clear that he was not prima facie a terrorist. That is where the doubt entered and, as Mr Weber correctly said, that pressure was applied. This is an allegation which has been tested in our High Court and is the subject of proceedings, but it clearly sent messages across the world that political pressure was being applied in this case.

Ms Kroes, as one of your colleagues said in the College of Commissioners, if we are going to cast doubt in other countries about the question of media freedom and pressure, we should apply that across the board. This is the problem that we have. This particular Act did not come as a result of 9/11, but it came in relation to Northern Ireland in the year 2000. We should not be applying such legislation in relation to somebody who had close proximity to Glenn Greenwald.

I asked the Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian in the European Parliament enquiry last week what effect this situation is having on journalism, both in The Guardian and amongst journalists more widely. His answer to me was that it was having a chilling effect on media freedom and on journalism. That is the problem we are now encountering, that across the media world the detention of David Miranda is having ‘a chilling effect’.

This is the problem. This is a national situation and – as you rightly said, Commissioner – there is security and the right of security in our national Member States and the right for intelligence services personnel to be protected: of course there is.

I believe that The Guardian is redacting and editing its stories so as not to put people in danger. This is not just about having information out there in an irresponsible way, as we heard in the committee inquiry last week; it is our responsibility to ensure that this balance is correct but that we do not have a misuse of legislation, either in one Member State or across the European Union. We should have Article 10 of the ECHR applying to journalism, media freedom and a good environment in the European Union for media freedom. That is what this statement should be about and that is why we are here today. I want to hear from you a defence of media freedom.

 
  
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  Sophia in 't Veld, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President ... secret laws, secret courts, secret budgets for secret services, all citizens being watched by the secret services, blanket surveillance, journalists and whistleblowers held on grounds of national security ... surely today’s debate must be about North Korea or Belarus? Oh no, it is about us! It is about the free Western world. Colleagues, we need to take a very close look at what is happening here because it is very serious.

Soon this Parliament is going to nominate the candidate for the Sakharov Prize, the prize for freedom of thought. If we want to do so with real moral authority, then we need to clarify and resolve the situation before us. Of course, the facts have to be investigated thoroughly – I would never say otherwise – but investigating thoroughly is not the same as turning a blind eye or closing our eyes to reality. Our parents, our grandparents and our great-grandparents suffered and gave their lives for freedom and democracy on this continent: we owe it to them to make sure that we and future generations can enjoy the same freedom and the same democracy, not only on paper but in practice.

Freedom of the media is clearly under threat, because where there is harassment and intimidation it has a chilling effect on the media. It leads to self-censorship. So what matters here is not whether there is only one case or two: this is about the impact on the free media.

We know about the Miranda case, we know there is a case in Germany, we know about whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, and many others. They are essential to democracy. They may sometimes be a pain in the ass, Mr Weber, but they are necessary for democracy. Yes, they are breaking the law, but sometimes, Mr Weber, that is the only way to expose the illegal acts of states – the only way to expose violations of international law and, indeed, of national law and human rights. So we should be dispensing justice to whistleblowers, not revenge.

We have seen the abuse of counter-terrorism laws, and we also see, Mr Weber, abuse of the rules on confidentiality – again to cover up illegal acts by governments, rather than to preserve the rule of law – and it is our job as a Parliament to ask critical questions to make sure that these things do not happen again.

I would like to ask the Commission three things. Firstly, as I said yesterday, I would ask it to come forward with a proposal for the immediate suspension of the EU-US Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) agreement. Secondly, I would ask when it intends to start the evaluation of the counter-terrorism policies that this House asked for two years ago, nothing having happened since then. And my last question is this: what does the Commission intend to do to ensure proper, strict enforcement, of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the European Union is to accede?

 
  
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  Jan Philipp Albrecht, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, let me say first of all that it is now more than 12 weeks since The Guardian revealed the information from Edward Snowden on the massive surveillance programmes by intelligence services, including those of EU Member States, and it is a shame that since then no EU governments have really been investigating the activities of their own intelligence services and assuming the consequences.

This inaction must cease. These surveillance measures are ongoing and they will continue if no responsibility is taken by the political leaders – and I am also addressing the Commission in that regard. We are speaking here about fundamental values. We cannot say it is up to the Member States alone to ensure respect for fundamental rights and fundamental principles: for the rule of law and our constitutional principles.

We are a community of law, in which we all share values, fundamental rights and fundamental laws, and we have to show we are responsible for the observance of those fundamental principles, of which freedom of the press is one. The European Convention on Human Rights is a very important aspect of these fundamental principles. Just 200 metres from here in Strasbourg we have the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights, with its case law. That law needs to be enforced throughout the European Union, otherwise we are no longer providing for human rights in the world.

 
  
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  Timothy Kirkhope, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, I will not just defend the UK Government or a specific anti-terror law but I am here tonight in the hope of adding a little commonsense and to provide facts rather than accusations in relation to the Miranda case. What is becoming increasingly clear in the work of this Parliament is that we are becoming the judge, jury and executioner on all issues, with a dislike of acquiring evidence before doing so.

The fight against terrorism and serious crime is a thankless task, complex and a target for criticism. Proportionality is something this House talks about a lot in the context of the actions of security services, its legislation and the collection of data, yet so often Parliament’s response, its approach and its methodology of working are far from proportionate and this comes at the cost of credibility.

The facts: the UK has independent reviews of its terrorist legislation, introduced by Mr Moraes’ party but improved by the coalition government. It is subject to strong safeguards and there are clear rules and provisions for any complaints that may occur; complaints which are overseen by an independent police complaints commission.

David Miranda’s legal team and the UK’s courts have both agreed that there is a strong case for the highly sensitive stolen material – I emphasise ‘stolen’ – to be retained by the police and that the documents retrieved may be examined on both national security and specified criminal grounds. The proportionality of Mr Miranda’s detention was further confirmed by the consent order which was granted. This is an ongoing investigation. It is not an opinion of a journalist. It is a theft.

Finally, I would like to remind the House that we are here to serve the interests of the citizens in the EU, not just a few vocal bloggers, hackers and twitterers who seem to have a powerful lobby here in Parliament.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat, au nom du groupe GUE/NGL. – Monsieur le Président, j'aurais envie de répondre à M. Kirkhope mais c'est tellement ridicule que je m'en tiendrai à mon intervention.

En juillet, nous avons adopté une résolution modérée sur le scandale Prism/NSA. Depuis lors, le journal Le Monde a publié une enquête démontrant que les services secrets français utilisent les mêmes méthodes dans les zones d'influence de la France. Ils ont reconnu, devant les parlementaires français, qu'ils procédaient à des échanges d'informations avec plus de 200 de leurs homologues étrangers, dont les États-Unis bien sûr.

Tous ceux qui sont attachés à la liberté d'expression doivent se féliciter que de grands journaux d'investigation fassent leur travail et révèlent à nos concitoyens l'ampleur de la surveillance généralisée mise en place sous couvert de lutte contre le terrorisme et la criminalité organisée. Il est insupportable que les journalistes qui révèlent ces scandales et les journaux pour lesquels ils travaillent soient victimes de mesures d'intimidation, comme en Grande-Bretagne. Que Le Guardian ait été obligé de détruire ses dossiers, c'est scandaleux! Du moins le croient-ils, car nous avons été rassurés à cet égard, au sein de la commission des libertés civiles, de la justice et des affaires intérieures, et je pense que le gouvernement britannique a quelques soucis à se faire en la matière et je m'en félicite.

Oui, l'arrestation par la police britannique de David Miranda, le compagnon de Glenn Greenwald, fondée sur la législation contre le terrorisme, est intolérable, tout comme la condamnation de Bradley Manning. On invoque la sécurité nationale, le risque de transmettre des informations aux Chinois. Mais de qui se moque-t-on?

Il est bien de défendre la liberté de la presse partout dans le monde. Il est encore mieux de la protéger sur notre propre territoire car, à la vitesse où évoluent les choses, nous n'aurons bientôt plus rien à envier aux dictatures, quelles qu'elles soient.

Pour ce qui concerne le groupe GUE/NGL, nous allons proposer Edward Snowden comme candidat au prix Sakharov et nous ne serons pas seuls, je l'espère, car les lanceurs d'alerte sont un bien nécessaire pour la démocratie.

 
  
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  Krisztina Morvai (NI). - Mr President, as reiterated today by the Member of the Commission present, the core values of the European Union are supposed to be democracy, liberty, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights, including freedom of the press and freedom of expression. If this is really true, then the Commission should immediately call upon the Member States of the European Union to grant political asylum to Edward Snowden and to all those who have risked their lives and liberty, and faced torture for these core values.

As I said, they did risk their lives. What we are doing until this call is made, Madam Commissioner, is just paying lip service. What is your opinion? Are you ready to make that call?

 
  
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  Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, I want to thank the honourable Members for this very thoughtful discussion on democracy and media freedom. I am aware of the sincere commitment of the House in this regard. Vice-President Reding is sorry she could not be here today, and it is an honour for me to replace her.

The EU should be a role model, there is no doubt about that, and I worry, as Parliament well knows, about certain practices in Member States. However, we need to see whether the Miranda case, which is on the agenda, is comparable. The EU should be, and I repeat myself, a role model on media freedom. It should be a beacon of freedom to our citizens and to others. Freedom of expression is an essential foundation of democracy, enshrined in the European Convention and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

 
  
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  Linas Antanas Linkevičius, President-in-Office of the Council. − Mr President, frankly speaking I cannot say much more than I said at the beginning, but maybe I could just say a few words. It is not necessary to discuss in the Council the importance of human rights and freedoms; everyone shares that. I also noted that many Members of Parliament spoke about national regulations which should be adjusted and adapted in order to avoid possible pressure on journalists’ rights; this is also very important in a free society.

These issues should not be discussed in advance and I am speaking on behalf of the Council. The issue is really very sensitive, and all I can say is that it is very important to strike a balance between the protection of citizens’ basic rights and freedoms on the one hand and issues of national security on the other.

It is really very sensitive, not just one-sided, and really we have to study this carefully and responsibly and not jump to any conclusions too fast, accusing each other. That is all I can say at the end, but thank you very much for all your comments and insights- As I said I listened very attentively to them. It will be very important for forthcoming discussions in the Council when these issues come up.

 
  
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  Elnök. − A vitát lezárom.

Írásbeli nyilatkozatok (149. cikk)

 
  
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  Josef Weidenholzer (S&D), schriftlich. – Die Interventionen und Einschüchterungsversuche der britischen Behörden im Fall Miranda sind nicht nur peinlich, sondern stellen einen schweren Anschlag auf die Presse- und Meinungsfreiheit in Europa dar. Europa muss sich vor seine Bürgerinnen und Bürger stellen, darf Aufdecker nicht einschüchtern und muss ein zentrales Interesse an der Aufklärung solcher Vorgänge haben. Ich möchte in diesem Zusammenhang auch an den im Mai gefassten Beschluss des Europäischen Parlaments zur „Medienfreiheit in Europa“ erinnern. Hier haben wir mit großer Mehrheit beschlossen, die Unabhängigkeit der Journalisten sowohl vor internem Druck durch Verlage, Herausgeber oder Eigentümer als auch vor externem Druck seitens der Politik zu schützen. David Cameron hat sich mit seinem Verhalten gegen diese Grundsätze gestellt.

 
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