Protection of children - Recommendations
Protection of Minors
and Human Dignity
The Council has issued two Recommendations on the Protection of Minors and Human Dignity (the second one together with the European Parliament) in order to make Member States and industry conscious of the new challenges for the protection of minors in electronic media, particularly those linked to the uptake and growing importance of online services
Considering that regulation cannot always keep pace with these developments, Member States are called upon to promote and develop appropriate framework conditions by other than purely legal means, for example through stakeholder cooperation and co- or self regulation.
Member States should consider the following:
promoting measures to combat all illegal activities harmful to minors on the Internet;
drawing up codes of conduct in cooperation with professionals and regulatory authorities at national and Community level;
encouraging the audiovisual and on-line information services industry to avoid and combat all discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, without infringing freedom of expression or of the press;
the introduction of measures regarding the online right of reply or equivalent remedies and
actions to enable minors' responsible use of audiovisual and on-line information services, in particular through media literacy.
Industry to step up its efforts
The audiovisual and online information services industry should step up its efforts by developing positive measures aiming at:
cooperation and exchange of best practices between the regulatory, self-regulatory and co-regulatory bodies;
creating filters which would prevent hard-core pornography from passing through the Internet and
increasing the use of content labelling systems for material distributed over the Internet.
The 2006 Recommendation of the European Parliament and the Council is based on the earlier 1998 Council Recommendation (see below), which remains in force. The 2006 Recommendation extends the scope to include media literacy, the cooperation and sharing of experience and good practices between self-, co- and regulatory bodies, action against discrimination in all media, and the right of reply concerning online media. The 1998 and the 2006 Recommendations and the Audiovisual Media Services Directive complement each other.
The 1998 Recommendation calls for the adoption of guidelines for the development of national self-regulation regarding the protection of minors and human dignity. It aims at providing guidelines for national legislation. It covers all electronic media:
television broadcasters are asked to try out new digital methods of parental control (such as personal codes, filtering software or control chips);
on-line Internet service providers are asked to develop codes of good conduct so as to better apply and clarify current legislation. The Recommendation fits in with current national and European regulations.
In 2001 and 2003 the Commission adopted two Evaluation Reports on the application of the 1998 Recommendation