Monday, February 27, 2006

Answer given by Mr Olli Rehn


Answer given by Mr Rehn

on behalf of the Commission (25.1.2006)

The Commission considers that restrictions on freedom of expression can only be justified within the parameters laid out in Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights and elaborated in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. As the Commission notes in its 2005 Progress Report on Turkey [1] , "In assessing whether to bring cases which impinge on the right to freedom of expression, the judiciary should consider whether the expression incites violence, armed rebellion or enmity, what the capacity of the individual or group is to influence the public and what kind of opportunity the target of the expression has to respond." The Commission has expressed its concerns that practice in Turkey does not correspond with European standards, as some individuals expressing non-violent opinions have been prosecuted and convicted.

However, a number of Member States have put some limits to the freedom of expression inter alia on television stations which support terrorist activities.

As regards Roj TV, it is not for the Commission, but for the Member States, to assess whether this television station is, as the Turkish authorities have suggested, supporting the activities of the PKK (Kurdistan Worker's Party), an organisation included on the EU list of terrorist organisations. The Commission would not seek to prejudge the outcome of the investigation which, according to its information, is ongoing in Denmark.