Dr. Tarlach McGonagle (IViR) was recently elected to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on Quality Journalism in the Digital Age. This new committee will have the task of preparing a draft recommendation for adoption by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on the topic of promoting a favourable environment for quality journalism in the digital age. The recommendation will be addressed to the Council of Europe’s 47 member states.
The Committee of Experts will also carry out a study on the promotion of media and information literacy in the digital environment. It will conduct its activities over a two-year period, starting on 1 January 2018.
This is the third successive committee of experts at the Council of Europe of which Dr. McGonagle has been a member. He was Rapporteur of the Committee of Experts (2014-5) which drafted a text that was adopted by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers as its Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4 to Member States on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors. This Recommendation has already been cited by the European Court of Human Rights in its case-law. He was also Rapporteur of the Committee of Experts on media pluralism and transparency of media ownership (2016-7). That committee recently finalised its draft Recommendation, which will now be submitted to the Committee of Ministers for possible adoption.
Dr. McGonagle regularly provides legal expertise on various aspects of freedom of expression and media law and policy to the Council of Europe and other intergovernmental organisations. In March 2017, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, invited Dr. McGonagle to give him a private, personal briefing on freedom of expression and “fake news”. McGonagle addresses those topics in his recent column: ‘“Fake news”: False fears or real concerns?’, 35 Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights (No. 4, December 2017), 203-209.