This research project will examine the role and impact of the European Convention on Human Rights on the right to freedom of expression and media and journalistic freedoms in enlargement countries, focusing specifically on Kosovo.
The European Union has twenty-eight member states, Croatia being the last one to join the Union, on 1 July 2013. A guaranteed right to freedom of expression and information has always been a benchmark that countries had to achieve before joining EU and candidate countries are monitored yearly about their progress. Despite this requirement, countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary managed to become member states even though freedom of expression in these countries is still considered only partially free, according to ratings by Freedom House and Reporters without Borders. As a result, the European Commission is strengthening its effort to increase the level of monitoring of media freedom in candidate countries. This research project will examine the role and impact of the European Convention on Human Rights on the right to freedom of expression and media and journalistic freedoms in enlargement countries. It explores whether developing media legislation, legal practice and domestic case law on freedom of expression, media and journalists is in accordance with the ECHR and the ECtHR jurisprudence, as this is a precondition to join the European Union.
The case study of this research – Kosovo is one of eight countries preparing to join the European Union. Countries aspiring European Union membership have to fulfil a list of requirements to demonstrate they are able to fulfil rights and responsibilities as a European Union country. Human rights and fundamental freedoms are amongst the thirty-five criteria known as the ‘Copenhagen Criteria’ that a candidate country has to fulfil in order to become a member state. The right to freedom of expression and information is one of the fundamental human rights guaranteed with many international instruments including the European Convention on Human Rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all reflecting the basic principles that have also been enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The research project is a cooperation between the European Institute for Journalism- and Communication Research and the Faculty of Law, Ghent University, Belgium. One result of this project is expected to be a Ph.D. thesis written by Flutura Kusari. First supervisor is Prof. Dr. Dirk Voorhoof at Ghent University.
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