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2016 Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights

EU, 2016

date:  17/11/2016 - 18/11/2016

On 17-18 November 2016 the second Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights will be held in Brussels. The 2016 Colloquium on Fundamental Rights will focus on"Media Pluralism and Democracy". First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Commissioner Günther Oettinger, and Commissioner Jourová will lead discussions with a wide range of experts on the key role in democratic societies of a free and pluralist media, and in particular digital media.
The Colloquium will bring together, in an interactive roundtable discussion, EU institutions and Member States, NGOs, journalists, media representatives, companies and key academics and international organisations to reflect on a wide range of topics. These include, among others:

• how to protect and promote media freedom and independence from state intervention and from undue political or commercial pressures;
• how to empower journalists and protect them from threats of physical violence or hate speech;
• the role of media and ethical journalism in promoting fundamental rights;
• how can a pluralistic media environment foster political debate on crucial issues for democratic societies.



View the programme (396 kB)

Discussion notes



The Commission Colloquia take the form of a round table interactive discussion with a limited number of key stakeholders to ensure that the diversity of voices around the table can be heard and in order to allow for a lively debate and an open exchange of views. Given the format of the event, participation is by invitation only.

Public consultation

A public consultation was launched to gather input for the preparation of the discussions.

Please read the executive summary.  The list of contributions is available here.

Dedicated hashtag  


Additional reference documents

FRA - Media and Incitement Paper EN

FRA - Threats and Pressures Paper EN

Media Pluralism and Democracy Factsheet EN

Spezial Eurobarometer 452 - Medienpluralismus und Demokratie DE

Special Eurobarometer 452 - Media pluralism and democracy EN

Eurobaromètre spécial 452 - Pluralisme des médias et démocratie FR

Images and galleries

Videos and interviews

Archived video streaming of event

Welcome and introduction (17/11/2016)

Session A: An independent media, free from political and commercial pressures (17/11/2016)

Session B: Journalists in the EU: addressing the threats and hatred they are confronted with and promoting ethical journalism (17/11/2016)

Session C: A converged media environment: challenges and opportunities for our democratic societies (17/11/2016)

Session I.a: Media pluralism and independence from financial pressures and constraints (18/11/2016)

Session I.b: Fostering democracy: media literacy, media ethics and an informed, multi-dimensional debate (18/11/2016)

Session I.c: Protecting journalists and their freedom of expression (18/11/2016)

Session II.a: Protecting media freedom and independence from political pressures (18/11/2016)

Session II.b: Whistleblowers and investigative journalism (18/11/2016)

Session II.c: Protecting journalists and new media actors from hate speech (18/11/2016)

Plenary concluding session (18/11/2016)

Background on Commission Colloquia on Fundamental Rights

The Commission's Annual Colloquia on fundamental rights aim at improving mutual cooperation and a greater political engagement for the promotion and protection of fundamental rights in Europe. They offer a space for dialogue around fundamental rights issues where a variety of actors, including civil society and policy makers, can get together around the same table and discuss concrete and workable actions to improve the fundamental rights situation in the EU.
The Commission's first Annual Colloquium on fundamental rights took place in October 2015. It focussed on "Tolerance and respect: preventing and combating antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe". It led to a concrete set of actions to encourage a culture of inclusive tolerance and respect in the European Union. Progress on the implementation of these actions has been reported in the 2015 Report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights , which the Commission adopted on 19 May 2016.
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