Media freedom has steadily declined in recent years, partly as a result of undemocratic and illiberal pressures and practices and the misuse of digital technologies to restrict media freedom, Media Freedom said on Thursday. Coalition, a group of media professionals.

The global coalition also said challenges to media freedom include unduly restrictive laws, arbitrary and/or unlawful surveillance, censorship, undue interference in the flow of information online, and physical violence; these challenges are exacerbated by financial threats, which compromise the independence and sustainability of the media.

The members of the coalition recently concluded their third World Conference on Media Freedom, which took place on February 9-10 and was hosted by Estonia and the Estonian Institute for Human Rights.

“Women Unfairly Treated”

The coalition, in the statement issued after their engagement, also said that women journalists are disproportionately targeted by online harassment, threats, sexist hate speech and trolling.

“In many cases, women journalists are subjected to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and gender-based violence due to their sexual orientation, race, disability, religion, ethnic origin or gender identity. gender, as well as other reasons. This can lead to such self-censorship that women choose to withdraw from the public sphere, which undermines media pluralism and democracy as a whole.

He added that despite the challenges faced by journalists around the world, the coalition would continue to work together “to improve media freedom and the safety of journalists online and offline, both at home and abroad.” As representatives of governments, it is our responsibility to ensure that the people of our countries can freely enjoy all their human rights. »

The declaration was signed by Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belize, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, l Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Montenegro, Netherlands , New Zealand, North Macedonia, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and United States.

Please read the press release below:

World Conference on Media Freedom: Joint Communique
February 9, 2022 – Global Affairs Canada

Media freedom is a cornerstone of democracy. Free and independent media are necessary to ensure accurate information and informed public debate and discussion, to hold governments to account and to draw attention to human rights abuses, and they serve as a watchdog for the interest public.

Media freedom has steadily declined in recent years, partly as a result of anti-democratic and anti-liberal pressures and practices and the misuse of digital technologies to restrict media freedom. Challenges to media freedom include unduly restrictive laws, arbitrary and/or unlawful surveillance, censorship, undue interference in the flow of information online, and physical violence; these challenges are exacerbated by financial threats, which compromise the independence and sustainability of the media.

Women journalists are disproportionately targeted by online harassment, threats, sexist hate speech and trolling. In many cases, women journalists are subjected to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and gender-based violence due to their sexual orientation, race, disability, religion, ethnicity or gender identity. gender, as well as other reasons. This can lead to such self-censorship that women choose to withdraw from the public sphere, which undermines media pluralism and democracy as a whole.

By joining the Media Freedom Coalition, we have committed to continue working together to improve media freedom and the safety of journalists online and offline, both at home and abroad. As representatives of governments, it is our responsibility to ensure that the people of our countries can freely enjoy all their human rights.

Today, we recall the commitments made in the Global Commitment on Media Freedom. We are committed to speaking up and acting together: by joining forces to share information, where appropriate, and to act where journalists and media are at risk; highlighting violations and abuses of media freedom, bringing them to the attention of global audiences and working for accountability; joining together to advocate at the highest level with the governments of countries where media freedom is under threat and to show solidarity with countries working to build media freedom; and considering all available measures to address violations and abuses of international human rights law related to media freedom.

We reiterate our commitments to increase local coordination through our diplomatic missions around the world, to defend media freedom, and to increase support and engagement with journalists and independent media under threat.

We support measures aimed at tackling the precarious working conditions and poverty of journalists, which compromise their independence.

The Media Freedom Coalition expresses its gratitude to Estonia and the Estonian Institute for Human Rights for shining the spotlight at the World Media Freedom Conference on the important topics of disinformation and freedom of expression, protection of journalists and the links between media freedom and Internet freedom. We also thank them for creating the Media Freedom Coalition website, which provides members of the coalition with a platform to continue to fight together against attacks on media freedom.

We salute the tireless work of all journalists and media workers who defend and defend media freedom. We pay tribute to all journalists and media professionals who have been the target of intimidation, violence or arbitrary detention or who, in the most extreme cases, have been killed in the exercise of their profession.

We once again wholeheartedly congratulate Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov on being awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, which highlights the importance of independent journalism.

We need journalists to report the facts, keep us informed and hold those in power to account. When violence against journalists prevails, the media cannot be free and democracy cannot function.

We look forward to celebrating the 10th anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, a milestone in media freedom and the protection of journalists.

We welcome the ongoing work of the Independent Panel of High-Level Legal Experts on Freedom of the Media to advise governments to ensure the protection of media freedom in legislation, and we note the recommendations contained in the reports of the group. We also warmly welcome the newly appointed Vice-Chairs of the panel, Can Yeginsu and Catherine Amirfar. We look forward to working with them.

We recognize the importance of media development work, which helps media organizations become more viable and resilient and improves the enabling environment for media. We are committed to working together to improve the effectiveness of this work, including through the Coalition’s Media Development Working Group.

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We underscore the important role played by international and regional organizations in protecting and promoting freedom of the media, including the United Nations, UNESCO, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Union European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of American States, the African Union and the Council of Europe. We also note the complementary and fundamental role of other like-minded initiatives, such as the Freedom Online Coalition and the International Partnership on Information and Democracy.

We commend the work of the Global Media Defense Fund, administered by UNESCO, to strengthen the legal protection of journalists and improve media freedom by supporting investigative journalism and strategic litigation.

We commend the work of civil society organizations, and in particular that of the Coalition for Media Freedom—Advisory Network, co-chaired by IFEX, ARTICLE 19 and the Pakistan Press Foundation, providing the Media Freedom Coalition with expert advice and strategic direction.

Finally, we would like to thank the Maldives, Germany and Latvia for their commitment to media freedom as members of the executive group of the Media Freedom Coalition, and we welcome the Czech Republic and Estonia as new members of the Executive Group, as well as Ireland, which officially joined the Media Freedom Coalition as its 50th member.

We would like to express our gratitude to the UK for initiating the work of the Media Freedom Coalition and serving as its co-chair. We are also grateful to the UK for launching the Media Freedom Coalition Secretariat, which will ensure the sustainability of the coalition.

We also thank Canada for its continued leadership as co-chair of the Media Freedom Coalition since 2019 and welcome the Netherlands as the new co-chair of the coalition. The Netherlands will provide strong leadership in this role.

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belize, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine , United Kingdom, Uruguay, United States

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