Maybe there’s hope for Europe yet. “An experiment? (1),” from the Telegraph, with thanks to Filtrat:
In today’s print edition I reported on plans by Franco Frattini, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, to bring together European newspapers and media groups, and draw up a voluntary code of conduct, committing editors to “prudence” when reporting Islam and other religions.
Mr Frattini thinks I misconstrued what he said. He has issued a stern press release, putting his side of the story….
I fear there is no weblink to Mr Frattini’s press release, so here it is in full: “This is a press release from the European Commission Ceci est un communiquÃ© de presse de la Commission EuropÃ©enne
“Following the publication of an article in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ of today, I want to clarify any possible misunderstandings about my position in regard to the so-called “cartoons” issue.
“As Commissioner responsible for the respect for and promotion of fundamental rights I have from the very outset underlined that the freedom of press, of expression and speech, including the right to critique, constitutes one of they key pillars upon which the EU is founded.
“I do not have the legal powers nor did I ever have the political intention to limit this fundamental right in any manner whatsoever.
“Since September 2005 I am in close contact with various representatives of the media, including the European federation of journalists, on issues linked to freedom of speech. I have offered to facilitate a dialogue between the media representatives and between them and faith leaders if that would be found useful by both parties.
“In their statement of 7 February 2005 the EFJ stated that it ‘has encouraged the European Commission to support a professional dialogue among media professional groups and that they welcome the fact that Commissioner Frattini is doing just that’.
“Such a dialogue would aim at discussing a number of pertinent questions which we are confronted with nowadays. One of them being ‘How are we to reconcile freedom of expression and respect for each individual’s deepest convictions?’, a relevant question as formulated by many actors , including the International Federation of Journalists.
“It is a dialogue on such a question which I would be wiling to facilitate but I will not impose such a role on any party if such a need would not be felt. Finally, I have never suggested imposing a code of conduct on the press, it is up to the media themselves to self-regulate or not, and it is up to the media to formulate such a voluntary code of conduct if it is found necessary, appropriate and useful by them.
“There have never been, nor will there be any plans by the European Commission to have some sort of EU regulation, nor is there any legal basis for doing so.”