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11-06-2021 16:30

Closing speech by the Minister of Interior, Mr Nikos Nouris, at the Conference “Artificial Intelligence – Intelligent Politics: Challenges and Opportunities for Media and Democracy”

I would like to begin by thanking each of you for your presence and active participation in the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and Information Society, and for sharing your valuable knowledge, insight and experience.

The success of the Conference is the result of a common effort of the member states’ Ministers and all the involved stakeholders.  

The adopted resolutions and our commitment will serve as a benchmark for those conditions in which citizens have access to a free and pluralistic media, quality news, a safe environment for media actors. It is our hope that all our citizens will feel safe when expressing views, seeking and sharing information, whether online or offline, thanks to the opportunities offered by digital technologies.

The Conference offered critical new input which will contribute towards our shared aims. The resolutions on “freedom of expression and digital technologies”, on “the changing environment in media and information”, on “the safety of journalists” and on “the impact of the health crisis on freedom of expression” were adopted and are being appended to the final Nicosia declaration. 

Our expressed commitment has created a foundation and a framework. We are all pragmatic enough to know that our recommendations and policy guidelines, however strongly felt and expressed, however thoroughly examined, do not always impact the reality ‘on the ground’ and what happens in practice. It is not only important to develop policies, legislations and regulations. It is equally important to ensure that those policies are successfully implemented and become part of the DNA of our societies. In this way, we turn policy into action, and only then safeguard the values and principles we defend.

In closing, on behalf of the Government of Cyprus, I would like to assure you that we will lead by example here in our own country, by applying practical and operational measures in order to implement the actions of the resolutions. We are eager to actively engage in shaping a united vision, turning the complexity and uncertainty of political, social and economic processes into human rights-based policies, projects and activities, embodying the values of the Council of Europe.

Dear distinguished guests,

The Greek philosopher Aristotle said,

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” We look forward to partnering with you, our distinguished colleagues, on this journey from principles on paper into policies in practice.

With this thought, let me express, once again, my sincere thanks to all of you for contributing to the discussions. I would especially like to extend my deepest gratitude to:

- the speakers, moderators and panellists for bringing their expertise and experience around the table and engaging in such fruitful, interesting dialogue, and

- the people and representatives of the media who have attended the conference, online.

Special thanks to the Council of Europe Secretariat and its staff working in the field of media and information society for their support for co-organising the conference and the excellent cooperation we had.

Though we must be grateful to Artificial Intelligence and digital technologies in general, and all the technical staff that worked behind the scenes and allowed this event to take place, I sincerely hope that when we next meet it will be in the traditional, face-to-face way.

Before I officially close the conference on “Artificial Intelligence – Intelligent Politics: Challenges and Opportunities for Media and Democracy”, I will give the floor to Mr Christos Giakoumopoulos, Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe for this speech.

(speech by Mr Giakoumopoulos)

I will now proceed with the closing of the conference on “Artificial Intelligence – Intelligent Politics: Challenges and Opportunities for Media and Democracy”, but before I do, I would like to request all our collaborators in Strasbourg and in Nicosia to come online while we close this successful event.

Thank you very much.

EH/SCH