The European Commission has adopted a communication on harmful and illegal content on the Internet, and a Green Paper on the protection of minors and human dignity in the context of new electronic services. These two documents are a response to public concern in recent months, and to the resolution adopted by the Telecommunications Council, on 27 September 1996, which called on the Commission to present an initiative in this area. The Commission communication aims to introduce measures to reduce harmful and illegal content on the Internet in the short-term. These will be based on greater cooperation between Member States to enforce existing legislation, and to encourage service providers to develop self-regulation. The Commission will support awareness actions for parents and teachers and encourage the development of filtering software. In addition, the Commission will open discussions at an international level with the aim of introducing global measures on harmful content. The Green Paper, on the other hand, is intended to stimulate debate over the longer-term on the protection of minors and human dignity in relation to all new audiovisual and information services. The Green Paper identifies fundamental differences between the new methods of communications and traditional methods. In particular, the new methods are closer to individual communication than mass communication. In this context, the Paper is intended to stimulate debate on appropriate policies for different levels of government in the EU and, in particular, on action at European level. The Green Paper covers three key themes where policy could be developed: - Strengthening legal protection; - Encouraging parental control systems; - Improving international cooperation. The Commission will consult the Parliament, Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions in relation to the development of policies in this area. In addition, all interested parties are invited to submit contributions in response to the Green Paper by 28 February 1997.
Policy making and guidelines
Protection of minors and human dignity in new audiovisual and information services - Discussion Forum
26 August 1997