Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)6 - Council of Europe

Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on a “Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users”
Document type
Policy Document

This Recommendation focuses on how European countries should perform their obligations to protect citizens’ human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet, in the context of the European Convention. Its central portion is a “Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users,” a public awareness document to educate European citizens about their rights online.

The Council states that everyone whose rights and freedoms are restricted or violated on the Internet has the right to an effective remedy (Paragraph 99). They explain in detail that the remedies should be available, known, accessible, affordable and capable of providing appropriate redress (Paragraph 103) and that Internet users should be offered clear and transparent information regarding the means of redress available to them (Paragraph 105).

The Council notes that under the European human rights framework, the right to freedom of expression by Internet users and the right to reputation deserve equal respect and must be balanced. The Council also offers a list of criteria to strike this balance (Paragraph 41).

Regarding private companies acting as intermediaries, the Council says that it is possible for them to remove content created and made available by their users or even deactivate their accounts based on their Terms and Conditions. These actions would have to comply with the conditions of Article 10, paragraph 2, of the European Convention on Human Rights or they could be considered as an interference with the right to freedom of expression. (Paragraph 53)

The summary of this document is part of the report produced on the Stanford Law School Intermediary Liability and Human Rights Policy Practicum and is based on the work of Miguel Morachimo. The full report “The ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ and Blocking Orders under the American Convention: Emerging Issues in Intermediary Liability and Human Rights”, can be accessed here.


Topic, claim, or defense
General or Non-Specified
Defamation or Personality Rights
Freedom of Expression
Document type
Policy Document
Issuing entity
Transnational Organization (Includes Bilateral Agreement)
Issues addressed
Trigger for OSP obligations
Procedural Protections for Users and Publishers
OSP obligation considered
Block or Remove