Freedom of Expression

Consultation on the draft Windhoek+30 DeclarationThe aim of this form is for participants to the 2021 World Press Freedom Day conference to provide input on the first draft of the Windhoek+30 Declaration, whose text can be found below. All are invited to provide suggestions on issues and themes they would like to see mentioned in the preamble, as well as recommendations for Member States, international organizations, Internet and tech companies, civil society, and media organizations. Contributions received through this form will be used to further improve the draft declaration, as well as an annex which will include guidelines for its operationalization. 1.We, the participants at the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day International Conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia, 29 April – 3 May 2021, Recalling Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”; Commemorating on the continuing relevance, legacy and role of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration as a catalyst for the proclamation of World Press Freedom Day, and an inspiration for freedom of expression, independent, free and pluralistic media and access to information around the world ; Appreciating the impact and legacy of the regional declarations adopted in the wake of the Windhoek Declaration, namely the Alma Ata, Santiago, Sana’a and Sofia Declarations; Recalling the 2001 African Charter on Broadcasting adopted on the 10th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, and the Pan-African Declaration on Access to Information adopted on the 20th anniversary in 2011; Reaffirming paragraph 5 of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration, which states “The world-wide trend towards democracy and freedom of information and expression is a fundamental contribution to the fulfilment of human aspirations;; Emphasising the role of information as a public good to which everyone is entitled, and as both a means and an end for the fulfilment of collective human aspirations and of Agenda 2030’s Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063; Convinced that information is a public good in that it empowers citizens to exercise their fundamental rights, supports gender equality, and allows for participation and trust in democratic governance, and sustainable development, leaving no one behind, as well as underpinning management and transcendence of the COVID-19 crisis, being central for the process of building back better; Recognizing the role of journalism in producing and disseminating such information, thereby realizing public interest, not least in times of crisis, and emphasizing that this role should remain free from capture or distorting influence; Acknowledging the far-reaching transformations of the informational ecosystem since the adoption of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration, in particular digital transformation and the ubiquity of Internet and social media companies in the sharing of knowledge and information, and recalling the UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Co-operation and UNESCO’s Internet principles of human rights, openness, accessibility and multistakeholder governance (ROAM) Concerned at the amplification of online disinformation and hate speech which undermines the informational ecosystem and people’s rights, and assessing that opaque practices by online platforms compound these grave problems; Alarmed by enduring and new threats to the safety of journalists and hindrances to the free exercise of journalism, including killings, offline and online attacks, and arbitrary detentions, as well as the adoption of disproportionate laws restricting freedom of expression and access to information in the name of combatting false information, protecting national security and combating violent extremism; Perturbed by the economic crisis faced by news media worldwide, and recalling that the economic viability of a free media is a major prerequisite for its independence, as enshrined in paragraph 2 of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration, which states, “By an independent press, we mean a press independent from governmental, political and economic control or from control of materials and infrastructure essential for the production and dissemination of newspapers, magazines and periodicals”; Highlighting the urgency of equipping citizens worldwide, in particular youth, with Media and Information Literacy competencies enMulti Line Text.2.We therefore: Call on all UNESCO Member States to: Commit to strengthening an enabling environment for free, independent and pluralistic media by providing protection for the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression and access to information, by guaranteeing the free exercise of journalism without governmental interference, as well by taking measures to reinforce the safety of journalists, and particularly women journalists; Recognize the importance of viability of public, private or community media, and implement specific policies equipped with the relevant safeguards to avoid media capture to rescue and expand possibilities for producing sustainable and independent journalism, with the aim of ensuring people’s access to credible and reliable information; Adopt policy, following a multi-stakeholder process, to ensure that online platforms’ practices concerning information, disinformation and misinformation are transparent, thereby enabling accountability for respecting human rights standards, and for official transparency to set the example; Mainstream Media and Information Literacy into strategies and action plans in order to build the resilience of citizens to misinformation and disinformation and promote civic participation in democratic life;Multi Line Text.3.Call on UNESCO and other intergovernmental organizations to: Reinforce alliances and coalitions with governments and civil society organizations in order to safeguard and enhance guarantees for the full exercise of the right to information and freedom of expression, particularly on strengthening support for media freedom and viability, transparency of Internet companies, and Media and Information Literacy for the public.Multi Line Text.4.Call on Internet companies and social media practitioners to: Be transparent about their curation and moderation of content, and be responsive to user redress requests, ensuring that their terms and conditions and community standards are also transparent; Conduct transparent risk assessments highlighting serious threats to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy, as well as disclose the impact of earlier steps to mitigate threats; Support journalism and the news media through financial payments, donations, prominent placement, and protection of journalists subjected to online attack.Multi Line Text.5.Call on journalists, media outlets, civil society and academia to: Advocate with States and Internet companies to recognise media viability as a development priority and a necessity to guarantee information as a public good; Monitor the informational ecosystem and expose problems caused by government policies and Internet companies’ opacity, and increase engagement in Media and Information Literacy actions and networks.Multi Line Text.6.Call to collective action: Humanity is at a tipping point. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us face to face with existential threats to the future of journalism, major problems in the online informational ecoystem, and the burning need for capacity of citizens to navigate today’s communications. As the 1991 Windhoek Declaration helped to change the world for the better, so to it is for the generation of 2021 to do the same. In affirming this Windhoek+30 declaration, we pay tribute to those who opened this path, and we to help secure the future for those who will come after us. Information as a public good is at stake.Multi Line Text.You can print a copy of your answer after you submitSubmitNever give out your password.Report abuseThis content is created by the owner of the form. The data you submit will be sent to the form owner. Microsoft is not responsible for the privacy or security practices of its customers, including those of this form owner. 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