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The Council of Europe is an European intergovernmental organisation with 47 member states, which was set up to promote democracy and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe.
The activities of the Council focus on three major areas: protection and promotion of human rights; promotion of democratic governance and support for sustainable democratic societies; and rule of law.
The CoE comprehensively covers Internet governance issues, such as:
- the first and only international convention dealing with cybercrime (the Budapest Convention), which was ratified by over 40 states;
- a set of conventions related to the protection of privacy and personal data;
- extensive policy work in the area of media freedom and human rights online, including net neutrality;
- judgments of the European Human Rights Court affecting Internet governance;
- active participation in global Internet governance policy processes.
The Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDSMI) steers the Council of Europe’s work in the fields of freedom of expression, media, Internet governance and other information society issues and it oversees the work on personal data protection. The CDMSI advises the Committee of Ministers on all questions within its area of expertise, including freedom, independence, pluralism and diversity of media, safety of journalists, support for professional journalism, protection and promotion of human rights in the information society, in particular freedom of expression on the Internet. While it has an intergovernmental composition, the Committee welcomes the participation of observers representing civil society, business, technical, professional and academic communities.