Brussels, 30 May 2003
Following a proposal from the European Commission, the Parliament and Council have approved a two year extension to the 'safer Internet action plan' in an effort to combat illegal and harmful online content.
The extended action plan aims to equip parents and children with the tools and awareness they need in order to participate fully in the information society. It also takes account of new forms of access to the Internet, such as via mobile phones.
Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, Erkki Liikanen, welcomed the decision, saying: 'It is important that everyone, including parents, understand the Internet, and in particular the way their children can use it. The extension of our Internet action plan is an important step in this direction.'
The types of initiative supported by the action plan include a system of hotlines in Europe where illegal content can be reported, and a European network of safer Internet awareness centres.
The scheme encourages the self-regulation of content providers, and experts in the field are brought together through the safer Internet forum. At a national level, relevant actors are encouraged to exchange information and coordinate their activities, and special provisions are included for accession countries.
The safer Internet action plan covers many different types of illegal content or conduct, for example, racist material. Provisions are also made for new technologies such as mobile and broadband content, peer-to-peer file sharing, and real time communications such as chat rooms and instant messaging.
The first calls for proposals under the safer Internet action plan, which has a budget of 13.3 million euro, will be launched in July 2003.