International: Committing to media freedom ahead of Summit for Democracy

International: Committing to media freedom ahead of Summit for Democracy - Media

Ghana, November 2022. Photo: Delali Adogla-Bessa / Shutterstock

Ahead of the Summit for Democracy 2023, more than 100 governments, businesses, and media support organisations are making official commitments to protecting media freedom worldwide. 

The commitments are a direct response to a call to action issued by the Media Freedom Cohort – an international coalition chaired by the Governments of Canada and the Netherlands and facilitated by the international non-governmental organisation Internews. The full list of commitments is available in the Media Freedom Cohort’s Findings Report. 

‘The last year has been marked by crisis, but the fact that so many strong advocates for freedom of expression and media freedom have come together to support journalism and protect journalists is proof there is hope for change,’ said Quinn McKew, ARTICLE 19’s Executive Director. ‘A diverse media environment is fundamental to building – and maintaining – robust and flourishing democracies.’

The commitments provide a concrete roadmap for making progress in the Media Freedom Cohort’s three priority areas: protecting journalists’ safety and security, advancing freedom of expression, and bolstering independent and diverse media. Actors behind the commitments include 27 governments, leading news organisations such as The New York Times and Associated Press, corporations such as Microsoft and WPP, and an array of civil society groups, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, BBC Media Action, Free Press Unlimited and IREX. Details about each commitment, including metrics and projected timelines, can be found in the Media Freedom Cohort’s Findings Report.

Looking beyond the Summit for Democracy 2023, the work of the Media Freedom Cohort will continue through the Media Freedom Coalition, co-chaired by the Governments of Canada and the Netherlands. 

‘This is a tremendous achievement for the global movement supporting independent media,’ said Internews’ President and CEO Jeanne Bourgault. ‘At a time when journalists face new threats, local news outlets struggle to stay afloat, and dangerous disinformation campaigns sway public opinion, it’s very encouraging to see an unprecedented number of influential actors come together to protect free, high-quality journalism around the world.’

About the Media Freedom Cohort  

In 2021, US President Biden hosted the Summit for Democracy, at which countries from around the world pledged concrete actions to advance democracy at home and abroad. ‘Democracy’s Year of Action’ followed, with governments and civil society groups working together to convene Democracy Cohorts in advance of the second Summit for Democracy in 2023. The second summit will highlight progress against commitments made in the first summit, as well as new commitments to advance democracy by a wider array of stakeholders. 

Read the Media Freedom Cohort’s findings