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More than 200 campaigners demand a UN development plan that makes governments more accountable

03 February 2014

More than 200 civil society groups from 77 countries are calling on the United Nations (UN) to put government accountability and independent media at the centre of a new framework for global development.

The UN is currently working to devise a global development agenda for after 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals, which will set worldwide priorities for development in the coming decades. This week the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals will be meeting in New York to further discussions on governance.

In a joint statement, coordinated by ARTICLE 19 and the GFMD, 220 organisations say access to information and media freedom are vital elements for a future development plan. Systems that allow people to hold governments accountable are fundamental to achieving economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability. “It’s crucial that the UN recognise the broad base of support for including media freedom and access to information as essential elements of the new development agenda. Creating open governments is a fundamental prerequisite to ensure meaningful development” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

The free flow of information allows people to make informed decisions and participate meaningfully in public discussions about matters that affect their lives. Information is also critical for to encourage innovation and creativity. Access to information and a free and independent media are crucial to ensuring governments are held to account for the promises they make and to safeguard development commitments” added Hughes.

“With this statement, civil society groups from all regions of the globe are addressing their representatives at the United Nations. Ignoring the role of media and information in fostering transparency and accountability would be an absurdity while setting goals and target for development for the next decades. Access to information an independent media are essential to development. As the UN Open Working Group gathers again this week, it is of utmost importance they take account of this message”, said Leon Willems, GFMD Chairman.

The coalition urges the UN to:
• establish a specific goal to “ensure good governance and effective institutions
• include as components of this goal a clause to “ensure people enjoy freedom of speech, association, peaceful protest and access to independent media and information” and to “guarantee the public’s right to information and access to government data.”

Last year a high-level advisory panel - appointed to advise the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the post 2015 agenda - recommended a new goal on good governance for a future development plan. This goal would
include ensuring that people have the right to free speech, independent media and access to information. The group’s report (A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable
Development) was welcomed widely for recognising the vital role human rights play in securing meaningful economic and social development.

“The high level panel made clear that access to information and the transparency and accountability of governments are critical to ensure development. Those recommendations must be made good and be formally incorporated to make to the post 2015 agenda meaningful” said Thomas Hughes.


Post-2015 Agenda: Access to information and independent media are essential to development

Human development in the coming decades will depend on people’s access to information. Groundbreaking new media and technology are enabling major expansion of economic, social and political progress.
We believe that freedom of expression and access to independent media are essential to democratic and economic development. Freedom of speech and the media are means to advance human development and are ends in their own right.
We, the undersigned, therefore call on the Open Working Group to fully integrate the governance recommendations of the UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons Report (A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development) into the proposed Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, specifically in relation to its recommendations to:
• Establish a specific goal to “ensure good governance and effective institutions”
• Include as components of this goal a clause to “ensure people enjoy freedom of speech,association, peaceful protest and access to independent media and information” and to “guarantee the public’s right to information and access to government data”

Signatories :

ARTICLE 19, International
Global Forum for Media Development, Belgium/International
7iber, Jordan
ABONG (Brazilian Association of NGOs), Brazil
Access Info Europe, Europe
Access to Information Programme, Bulgaria
Access-info Center, Moldova
Acción Ciudadana “Capitulo de Transparencia Internacional Guatemala”, Guatemala
Adevarul (Truth), Armenia
Adil Soz, Kazakhstan
Afghanistan Journalists Center, Afghanistan
AFP Foundation, France
Africa Freedom of Information Centre
African Media Initiative, Kenya/International
Al Sawt el Hor, Egypt
Albanian Media Institute, Albania
Algerean league for human rights, Algiria
Alliance of Independent Journalists, Indonesia
Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información, South America
Comunicação e Direitos (ANDI), Brazil
Arabic Media Internet Network, Palestine
ABRACCI - Articulação Contra a Corrupção e a Impunidade, Brazil
Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad, Colombia
Association “For Sustainable Human Development”, Armenia
Asociación por los Derechos Civiles, Argentina
Association EPAS, Romania
Association of Caribbean Media Workers, Caribbean
Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM), Serbia
Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain
Bahrain Transparency Society, Bahrain
BBC Media Action, UK / International
Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI), Brazil
BRITDOC Foundation, UK
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt
Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Cambodia
Campaign for Freedom of Information, UK
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Canada
CAPJC, Tunisia
Cartoonists Rights Network International, International
Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists, Jordan
Center for Effective Government, USA
Center for International Environmental Law, Canada
Center for Independent Journalism, Romania
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Philippines
Center for Media Research, Nepal
Center for Media Studies and Peace Building, Liberia
Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia
Centre for Law and Democracy, International
Centre Ibn Rochd, Morocco
Centro de Archivos y Acceso a la Información Pública, Uruguay
Centro de Iniciativas de Politicas Ambientales, Nicaragua
Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala, Guatemala
Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental, Ecuador
Conselho Indigenista Missionário - Regional Norte, Brazil
Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, Mexico
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre), Honduras
Committee to Protect Journalists, International
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, India
Comunicación y Educación Ambiental SC, Mexico
Conselho Indigenista Missionário - Regional Norte / Indigenous Missionary Council - Northern Region, Brazil
Corruption Watch UK
Cultura Ecológica, Mexico
DATA Uruguay
Defensa de Niñas y Niños Internacional – DNI, Costa Rica
Derechos Digitales, Chile
Deutsche Welle Akademie, Germany
Doha Centre for Media Freedom, Qatar
Electronic Frontier Foundation, USA
English PEN, UK
Espaco Publico, Venezuela
European Endowment for Democracy
FAMEDEV-Inter Africa Network for Women, Media,Gender and Development, Senegal
FEMNET (African Women’s Development & Communication Network)
FOJO: Media Institute, Linnaeus University, Sweden
Fondation Hirondelle, Switzerland
Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA), Argentina
Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka
Free Press Unlimited, The Netherlands
Freedom Forum, Nepal
Freedom Foundation for Media Freedom Rights and Development, Yemen
Freedom House, USA
Freedom of Information Center of Armenia
Freedom of Information Foundation, Russia
Fundación Andina para la Observación y el Estudio de Medios (Fundamedios), Ecuador
Fundacion Construir, Bolivia
Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana, Capítulo Panameño de Transparencia Internacional, Panama
Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa, Colombia
Gaspar Garcia Centre for Human Rights, Brazil
Global Editors Network (GEN), France / International
Global Human Rights Communications, India
Global Infancia, Paraguay
Global Integrity: Innovations for Transparency and
Accountability, International
Global Movement for Budget Transparency, Accountability and Participation (BTAP), International
Global Voices, International
Globe International Center, Mongolia
GPOPAI, Research Group on Public Policy for Access to Information, University of Sao Paulo
Greenhost, The Netherlands
Groupe d’Action de Paix et de Formation pour la Transformation, GAPAFOT, Central African Republic
Hibr, Jordan
Hong Kong Journalists Association, China
Human Rights Center, Azerbaijan
Human Rights First Rwanda Association
Human Rights Network for Journalists, Uganda
Human Security Alliance, Thailand
Iilab, UK
Independent Journalism Center, Moldova
Independent Media Center Kurdistan, Iraq
Index on Censorship, UK
Initiative for Freedom of Expression, Turkey
Institut du Gouvernance Numérique, Canada
Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, Indonesia
Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information, Indonesia
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, Venezuela
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, Peru
International Center for Journalists, USA
International Federation of Journalists - Asia Pacific
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
International Media Support, Denmark
International NGO Forum On Indonesian Development- INFID, Indonesia
International Press Institute, Austria
International Publishers Association
International Records Management
Internews Europe
Internews, International
Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association, Iraq
Irex Europe, France / International
Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate, Iraq
Lam Echaml, Tunisia
LokaalMondiaal, Netherlands
Lori TV, Armenia
Maharat Foundation, Lebanon
Media Foundation for West Africa
Media Industry Development Authority, Fiji
Media Initiatives Center, Armenia
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Media Rights Agenda, Nigeria
Media Watch, Bangladesh
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Australia
Mediacentar Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina
MediaLink, Indonesia
Medical Mission Sisters, USA
MICT Berlin, Germany
Mizzima News, Burma
Nancy Fashho, Individual
National Media Observatory UNIR Bolivia
Foundation, Bolivia
National Union of Journalist Malaysia, Malaysia
National Union of Somali Journalists
Obong Denis Udo-Inyang Foundation, Nigeria
Observatorio Latinoamericano para la Libertad de Expresión, Peru
Observatório Social de Belém, Brazil
One World Media, UK
ONG Ativa Buzios, Brazil
ONG Transparência Cachoeirense, Brazil
Open Data Forum Indonesia
Open Democracy Advice Centre, South Africa
Open Society Foundation, Serbia
Open The Government, USA
Ovdinfo.Org, Russia
Pacific Islands News Association
Pakistan Press Foundation, Pakistan
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms
Panos Europe, International
PEN American Center
PEN Canada
PEN International
Privacy and Access Council of Canada / Conseil du Canada
de l’Accès et la vie Privée
Privacy International
PRO MEDIA Skopje, Macedonia
Programa Transparencia para [email protected], Mexico
Public Association Journalists, Kyrgyzstan
Publish What You Fund, International, Czech Republic
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, The Netherlands
Reporters Without Borders, France, US
School for Broadcast Media, Indonesia
SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, Lebanon
Small World News, US
SMEX - International
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Nigeria
Source Fabric, Czech Republic
South African History Archive, South Africa
Southeast Asian Press Alliance
Syrian Journalist Association, Syria
Syria Newsdesk, Syria
Teeba Press, Sudan
Terra-1530, Armenia
The Association of European Journalists, Belgium / International
The Justice Project, India
The MediaWise Trust, UK
The Zimbabwean, Zimbabwe
Tifa Foundation, Indonesia  
Trac FM, Uganda
Transparency International
Transparency International Bangladesh
Transparency International, Croatia
Transparency Morocco
Tunis Center For Press Freedom, Tunisia
Tunisie Bondy Blog, France / Tunisia
United Journalists Center, Egypt
Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
Uznet, Uzbekistan
Videre Est Credere, UK
Viva São João, Brazil
VOICE, Bangladesh
Vuselela-Media, South Africa
Walter Keim, Individual, Norway
Wesam Al-Haq
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
World Pulse, International
Youth Association for Development, Pakistan
Zambezi Fox, South Africa
Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations

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