Commonwealth principles on freedom of expression and the role of the media in good governance

Tuesday 10 April 2018

As journalists, bloggers, uses or social media, and others across the Commonwealth experienced increases in official and de facto restrictions on freedom of expression and communication, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies established a project to examine challenges to media freedom in the Commonwealth. The project commenced with a conference on this theme in April 2017.

Since then, the project has convened a Working Group on Media and Good Governance which brings together representatives from a range of Commonwealth partner institutions, including the Commonwealth Journalists Association, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. Ahead of the Commonwealth Summit taking place in London from 16 April 2018, this Working Group has agreed a set of Commonwealth principles on freedom of expression and the role of the media in good governance. Drawing inspiration from the example of the Latimer House Principles, the proposed principles on freedom of expression and the role of the media in good governance include guidelines with respect to relationships between the media and the judiciary, parliament, and executive. 

The aim of these principles is to provide member states and their agencies, as well as Commonwealth legislatures and judiciaries, civil society and media, with the means to promote and develop democratic, accountable, and open societies, in accordance with international norms and standards and Commonwealth values.