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Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, December 2019

20-12-2019

The December plenary session highlights included the election of the European Ombudsman; commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights becoming legally binding; and the award of the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Parliament adopted positions on the rule of law in Malta, following the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and on public discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people, including LGBTI-free zones. It also debated statements ...

The December plenary session highlights included the election of the European Ombudsman; commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights becoming legally binding; and the award of the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Parliament adopted positions on the rule of law in Malta, following the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and on public discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people, including LGBTI-free zones. It also debated statements by the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) on the humanitarian situation of the Uyghur in China and in Venezuela and Nicaragua, on the migration and refugee crisis, and on the violent crackdown on recent protests in Iran. Debates took place, inter alia, on Commission and Council statements on: the 30th anniversary of the Romanian revolution of December 1989; the post-2020 EU disability strategy; the COP25 outcome; animal welfare conditions during transport to third countries; and the US Trade Representative's announcement on France's digital service tax. Parliament also voted on appointments to the Executive Board of the European Central Bank.

Freedom of conscience around the world

29-10-2019

Many international conventions, such as those adopted by the United Nations, and regional conventions, emphasise the need to protect freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, to which they attach equal importance. In Europe, these conventions are supplemented by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Freedom of conscience or opinion covers a wide range of beliefs and practices that reflect attitudes stemming from personal choices; ...

Many international conventions, such as those adopted by the United Nations, and regional conventions, emphasise the need to protect freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, to which they attach equal importance. In Europe, these conventions are supplemented by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Freedom of conscience or opinion covers a wide range of beliefs and practices that reflect attitudes stemming from personal choices; the beliefs and practices involved are not easily categorisable. For that reason, international statistics are sometimes patchy and it is difficult to determine exactly how many people around the world do in fact enjoy freedom of conscience, particularly as in some parts of the world a climate of intolerance makes the exercise of that freedom problematic. Freedom of conscience is not upheld in every country: either the state itself is guilty of discrimination or persecution, or it is incapable of curbing violent social responses motivated by intolerance. It is hard to put a figure on the number of cases involving denial of freedom of conscience, because the victims of persecution go largely unnoticed by the media. In many countries the situation is worrying, and the European Union is committed to defending freedom of conscience in its relations with its partners. This briefing is an update of an earlier one published in April 2018.

Freedom of expression, a comparative-law perspective - The United Kingdom

24-10-2019

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing freedom of expression in different legal systems. The document will analyse, with reference to the United Kingdom and the subject at hand, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law and the concept of freedom of expression with its current and prospective limits, ending with some conclusions and possible solutions for future challenges. In the absence of ...

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing freedom of expression in different legal systems. The document will analyse, with reference to the United Kingdom and the subject at hand, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law and the concept of freedom of expression with its current and prospective limits, ending with some conclusions and possible solutions for future challenges. In the absence of formal constitutional protection for freedom of expression, the approach of the UK is residual in nature. That is to say, the extent of a person’s freedom of expression is what is left after statutory and common law (judge-made) incursions into the freedom. Notwithstanding the passage of the Human Rights Act 1998, it remains the case that the UK Parliament is free to modify and restrict freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression, a comparative law perspective - The United States

15-10-2019

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project, which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing freedom of expression in different legal systems. The document analyses, with reference to the United States of America and the subject at hand, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law, and the concept of freedom of expression with its current and prospective limits, ending with some conclusions and possible solutions for future challenges. The legislative ...

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project, which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing freedom of expression in different legal systems. The document analyses, with reference to the United States of America and the subject at hand, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law, and the concept of freedom of expression with its current and prospective limits, ending with some conclusions and possible solutions for future challenges. The legislative foundation for freedom of expression law in the United States is grounded in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Based on this text, the Supreme Court has created the freedom of expression doctrinal framework by which lower courts and other branches of government are bound. Unlike other jurisdictions, the United States grants broad freedom of expression protections based largely on the idea that “good” speech will prevail over “bad” speech in the open market.

Autore esterno

EPRS, Comparative Law

India: taking stock of Modi's five years

10-04-2019

From 11 April to 18 May 2019, 900 million Indians are invited to take part in the world's biggest democratic event: the election of the 543 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber). Voting will be held across the country in seven phases and the result will be declared on 23 May. In 2014 the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) obtained the absolute majority in India's Lok Sabha, and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Enjoying a strong and undisputed mandate, Modi has generated expectations ...

From 11 April to 18 May 2019, 900 million Indians are invited to take part in the world's biggest democratic event: the election of the 543 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber). Voting will be held across the country in seven phases and the result will be declared on 23 May. In 2014 the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) obtained the absolute majority in India's Lok Sabha, and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Enjoying a strong and undisputed mandate, Modi has generated expectations of unleashing the country's economic potential and has adopted many flagship initiatives in a bid to change the country. In the last five years, India has overtaken China as the fastest growing economy, becoming the world's sixth biggest economy and a space power. Doing business in the country has become easier. Poverty has been reduced. The government succeeded in introducing major fiscal unification reform and a new law on bankruptcy. It failed, however to create the necessary stock of jobs for young people or to promote long-awaited labour reforms. The situation for farmers has worsened, and an overnight demonetisation hindered progress among small businesses and rural communities, while failing to bring real advances in the fight against corruption. State banks hold large stocks of bad loans and the government has increased pressure on the central bank and on its independence. Hindu nationalism and religious intolerance, pressure on freedom of expression, possible state intrusion into privacy, citizenship issues and other topics have been matters for concern in the area of human rights, although the country remains a robust democracy governed by the rule of law. Modi has increased the country's presence in the global arena, although the framework of India's relations with the major powers has not changed. Following two summits in 2016 and 2017, the EU and India have embarked on a road towards cooperation on non-trade issues. Trade has meanwhile stagnated and little progress has been made in negotiations on a trade and investment agreement.

Regulating disinformation with artificial intelligence

13-03-2019

In this study, we examine the consequences of the increasingly prevalent use of artificial intelligence (AI) disinformation initiatives upon freedom of expression, pluralism and the functioning of a democratic polity. The study examines the trade-offs in using automated technology to limit the spread of disinformation online. It presents (self-regulatory to legislative) options to regulate automated content recognition (ACR) technologies in this context. Special attention is paid to the opportunities ...

In this study, we examine the consequences of the increasingly prevalent use of artificial intelligence (AI) disinformation initiatives upon freedom of expression, pluralism and the functioning of a democratic polity. The study examines the trade-offs in using automated technology to limit the spread of disinformation online. It presents (self-regulatory to legislative) options to regulate automated content recognition (ACR) technologies in this context. Special attention is paid to the opportunities for the European Union as a whole to take the lead in setting the framework for designing these technologies in a way that enhances accountability and transparency and respects free speech. The present project reviews some of the key academic and policy ideas on technology and disinformation and highlights their relevance to European policy.

Autore esterno

DG, EPRS

Turchia: relazione per paese 2018

06-03-2019

Nel marzo 2019 il Parlamento europeo voterà una proposta di risoluzione sulla relazione per paese 2018 riguardante la Turchia. Sia la relazione della Commissione che la relazione della commissione per gli affari esteri sottolineano l'arretramento registrato in alcuni settori fondamentali. La commissione per gli affari esteri chiede miglioramenti e la sospensione dei negoziati di adesione.

Nel marzo 2019 il Parlamento europeo voterà una proposta di risoluzione sulla relazione per paese 2018 riguardante la Turchia. Sia la relazione della Commissione che la relazione della commissione per gli affari esteri sottolineano l'arretramento registrato in alcuni settori fondamentali. La commissione per gli affari esteri chiede miglioramenti e la sospensione dei negoziati di adesione.

Preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online

04-02-2019

The Commission is a legislative measure to introduce measures to prevent the misuse of hosting services for the dissemination of terrorist content online. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposal finds that the impact assessment clearly determines the problems with the status quo, but is short on detail in outlining the options to tackle these problems. The Impact assessment is particularly sensitive to concerns of encroachment on fundamental rights and freedoms ...

The Commission is a legislative measure to introduce measures to prevent the misuse of hosting services for the dissemination of terrorist content online. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposal finds that the impact assessment clearly determines the problems with the status quo, but is short on detail in outlining the options to tackle these problems. The Impact assessment is particularly sensitive to concerns of encroachment on fundamental rights and freedoms and makes a distinctive effort to highlight the proportionality of the measures proposed and the safeguards to fundamental rights and freedoms integrated within.

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive

25-01-2019

Following political agreement with the Council, a vote in plenary on 2 October 2018 saw Parliament adopt the updated EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, based on the proposal presented by the Commission on 25 May 2016. The overarching goal of the proposal was to bring about a balance between competitiveness and consumer protection. It therefore aimed to introduce flexibility when restrictions only applicable to TV are no longer justified, promote European films, protect minors and tackle hate ...

Following political agreement with the Council, a vote in plenary on 2 October 2018 saw Parliament adopt the updated EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, based on the proposal presented by the Commission on 25 May 2016. The overarching goal of the proposal was to bring about a balance between competitiveness and consumer protection. It therefore aimed to introduce flexibility when restrictions only applicable to TV are no longer justified, promote European films, protect minors and tackle hate speech more efficiently. The proposal also reflected a new approach to online platforms. Following adoption of the revised directive, EU Member States now have to bring the new rules into national law by 19 September 2020. Sixth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Relazione annuale sui diritti umani e la democrazia nel mondo nel 2017

05-12-2018

Ogni anno, al Parlamento europeo ha luogo un dibattito sui diritti umani e la democrazia nel mondo, in generale, e sulla politica dell'Unione europea in materia. Nel 2017 i diritti umani sono stati assolutamente al centro dell'azione esterna dell'UE. Tuttavia, nel 2017 si sono registrati anche continui contraccolpi, in tutto il mondo, contro la società civile, in particolare i giornalisti, e un aumento della disinformazione e del populismo. La relazione della commissione per gli affari esteri (AFET ...

Ogni anno, al Parlamento europeo ha luogo un dibattito sui diritti umani e la democrazia nel mondo, in generale, e sulla politica dell'Unione europea in materia. Nel 2017 i diritti umani sono stati assolutamente al centro dell'azione esterna dell'UE. Tuttavia, nel 2017 si sono registrati anche continui contraccolpi, in tutto il mondo, contro la società civile, in particolare i giornalisti, e un aumento della disinformazione e del populismo. La relazione della commissione per gli affari esteri (AFET) del Parlamento europeo chiede l'integrazione continua dei diritti umani in tutta l'azione dell'UE, sia all'interno che all'esterno. Il Parlamento europeo dovrebbe analizzare tale tema durante la sessione di dicembre.

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