MEDIA ADVISORY: “Freedom without hate: Reconciling freedom of expression with other human rights”

Tirana 19 December 2019
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MEDIA ADVISORY: “Freedom without hate: Reconciling freedom of expression with other human rights”

The Conference “Freedom without hate: Reconciling freedom of expression with other human rights” will be held at the Hotel ‘Rogner’ in Tirana on Friday, 20 December 2019 starting from 10:00.
The event, organised by the Office of the Ombudsperson in Albania in co-operation with the Council of Europe Office in Tirana, in the framework of the European Union and the Council of  Europe joint Programme ‘Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022’, will discuss with key actors how to counter hate speech and foster tolerance and dialogue through enhancing partnerships among various actors and stakeholders.

Opening remarks will be given by: 

  • Mr Ilir Meta, President of Republic of Albania 
  • Ms Erinda Ballanca, Ombudsperson of Albania  
  • Mr Gramoz Ruçi, Deputy Speaker of Parliament
  • Ms Jutta Gützkow, Head of Council of Europe Office in Tirana 
  • Mr Brian Williams, UN Resident Co-ordinator in Albania
  • Mr Daniel Koski, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S Embassy in Albania 

During this conference, the topic of ‘hate speech’ will be addressed in the context of freedom of expression and anti-discrimination. At the event, the Ombudsperson Office, Commission for Protection from Discrimination and the Albanian Media Council will announce the establishment of the ‘No Hate Alliance’, which is a commitment by these organisations to engage key stakeholders in the field to join efforts and advocate for countering hate speech. The Conference will bring together high-level representatives of civil society, government agencies, media, academia, and international organisations that have a direct role in protecting freedom of expression and eliminating hate speech.

Media are welcome to cover the conference, which begins at 10:00 on 20 December 2019 at Hotel Rogner, Antigonea Room 1, Tirana.

Ombudsperson: Sokol Shameti, tel: +355 69 20 33 001
Council of Europe: Besnik Baka, tel. +355 69 21 78 430

What is the Horizontal Facility II?

The European Union/Council of Europe Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey (Horizontal Facility II) 2019-2022 is a co-operation initiative of the European Union and Council of Europe for the Western Balkans and Turkey. It is one of the results of the Statement of Intent signed on 1 April 2014 by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the European Union Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, in which both Organisations agreed to further strengthen their co-operation in key areas of joint interest.

The first phase of the programme included various Beneficiary-specific and regional initiatives and ran from 2016 to 2019. The second phase of the programme (worth €41 million between 2019 and 2022) keeps building on the results of the phase I and broadens the thematic areas to new topics crucial for the Western Balkans region and Turkey – freedom of expression and media.

The second phase of the programme covers Actions in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia as well as Turkey and the regional dimension of the programme is strengthened. The Expertise Co-ordination Mechanism that provides legislative expertise and policy advice within the Council of Europe system remains an important part of the programme available to all Beneficiaries.


How long will the Horizontal Facility II last?

The Horizontal Facility is a three-year programme, which is being implemented by the Council of Europe from May 2019 over a period of 36 months. 


How much will the Horizontal Facility II cost?

The envelope of this facility amounts to ca. 41 Million EUR (85% funded by the EU, 15% by the CoE).


What will the Horizontal Facility II do?

The Horizontal Facility enables the Beneficiaries to meet their reform agendas in the fields of human rights, rule of law and democracy and to comply with the European standards, including where relevant within the framework of the EU enlargement process. The Horizontal Facility relies on the Council of Europe’s unique working methods, whereby tailor-made technical co-operation activities are based on conclusions and recommendations of the Council of Europe’s monitoring bodies highlight areas where improvements are needed in legislation and policies of the Beneficiaries to comply with the Organisation’s treaties and other standards.

Themes covered by the Horizontal Facility include:

  • Ensuring justice;
  • Fighting economic crime;
  • Combating discrimination and protecting the rights of vulnerable groups (including LGBTI, minorities and Roma) and
  • Freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

All the themes are key priorities of the two Organisations in the Western Balkans region and Turkey.

All Horizontal Facility actions address cross-cutting issues such as gender mainstreaming, protection of minorities and vulnerable groups and foresees the engagement of civil society organisations in the implementation of the Horizontal Facility.

This website has been produced using funds of a Joint Project between the European Union and the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union or the Council of Europe.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.