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The Council of Europe's Human Rights: Perspective on the Media

Human Rights and Media

ISBN: 978-0-76230-052-5, eISBN: 978-1-84950-695-3

Publication date: 14 October 2011


The theory of the civilizing process, first introduced by sociologist Norbert Elias, refers to the process by which aggressiveness becomes “domesticated” through an individual's or community's adoption of civilized codes of conduct and patterns of social behavior. From the perspective of this theory, fundamental civil liberties and human rights, as defined in the European Convention for Human Rights, can be seen as an essential catalyst in the civilizing process. Human rights is a topic high on the agenda of many international and non-governmental organizations. Yet little is known about the way that these organizations operate in their aims to further the universalism of human rights, and in particular with regard to human rights and the media. The Council of Europe (CoE) is a major non-governmental organization involving dozens of countries from around the world, and it plays a major role in political bargaining with nations. In addition to the CoE's commitment to human rights, it devotes considerable resources to investigate and document developments in the media as well as human rights violations in its member countries, it takes measures to sanction countries that are in violation of its codes, and it sets forth a policy agenda for the future. In this chapter, the author has drawn on his experiences as a member of the parliamentary Assembly of the CoE, interviews with journalists, judges, and politicians, and the reports of the CoE, to explain the work of the CoE in the area of human rights and the media. The chapter begins by making the argument that the theory of the civilizing process elaborated by Elias, providing important insights into understanding the role of the CoE in the area of human rights and the media. In conclusion, a critical assessment of the role of international organizations and their efforts to further the development human rights particularly in the field of journalism and the media is offered.


Cherribi, S. (2011), "The Council of Europe's Human Rights: Perspective on the Media", Papademas, D. (Ed.) Human Rights and Media (Studies in Communications, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 25-39.



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