Europe to review anti-terrorism laws

June 8, 2009

The Council of Europe has pledged to review anti-terrorism laws following media concerns that the laws are, in some cases, ‘too broad and fail to define clear limits?’.

The council, which seeks to ensure that European countries abide by the European Convention on Human Rights, adopted the plan at a conference held in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Council of Europe ministers said they have resolved to review national anti-terrorist laws ‘to ensure that any impact on freedom of expression and information is consistent with the Council of Europe standards?’

In a statement the council added: ‘They [ministers], also underlined that concerns have been raised that, in some cases, anti-terrorist laws restricting freedom of expression and information in member states are “too broad, fail to define clear limits to authorities’ interference or lack sufficient procedural guarantees to prevent abuse”.’

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which was among those calling for the review in the interests of press freedom, welcomed the move.

‘This recommendation sends a strong message. European governments need to act now to repair the damage done to civil liberties by the rush to legislate over the threat of terrorism,’ said IFJ general secretary Aidan White.

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