The project has convened a Working Group on Media and Good Governance which includes representatives from a number of Commonwealth partner organisations, including the Commonwealth Journalists Association, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. In March 2018, the Working Group agreed the original Commonwealth principles on freedom of expression and the role of the media in good governance, proposing them for consideration by the Commonwealth Heads of Government at the April 2018 Commonwealth Summit. 

Amended Principles

Read the 2022 Commonwealth Principles on Freedom of Expression and the Role of the Media in Good Governance which was amended by an expert working group and adopted by Law Ministers in Mauritius.

Press Freedom Indexes

Please find here the Press Freedom Index for Commonwealth countries (2013-2018), compiled by Reporters Without Borders. We have also compiled the Press Freedom Global Index 2019-2022.

Media Freedom Summary Report

Here you will also find a Media Freedom Summary Report which was commissioned by the Commonwealth Foundation.

Related Reports

Weaponising the Law: Attacks on Media Freedom

Thomson Reuters Foundation have published, in collaboration with the Tow Centre of Digital Journalism at Columbia University, a flagship report entitled 'Weaponising the Law: Attacks on Media Freedom'

The report - funded by the Foundation and authored by renowned press freedom experts Joel Simon, and Carlos Lauría, and legal expert Ona Flores - is the first of its kind to bring together both qualitative and quantitative data to build a cohesive global overview of prevalent trends in 'lawfare' used against journalists.

Earlier this year, nearly 500 members of the Foundation’s extensive network of journalists responded to a survey on their lived experiences of the legal threats facing independent journalism. Their insights, alongside the perspectives of 37 renowned media freedom experts, showed evidence of an unprecedented growth in legal attacks on journalists around the world.

  • Nearly 50% of respondents, representing 106 countries, said that they or their media organisation were facing legal threats. This illustrates the sheer scale of this war on journalism. 
  • Eight key legal threats to journalists around the globe were identified and analysed. These range from defamation and insult allegations being levied to suppress scrutiny, to cybercrime and national security laws such as ‘espionage’ or ‘treason’, which are misused to silence and harass journalists reporting on sensitive topics such as organised crime, corruption, human rights issues and conflict. 
  • The report concludes with a set of 10 recommendations – shaped by the insights of our contributors – for tangible action to curb negative legislative trends, expand legal support and enhance cross-sector collaboration.   

You can download the report in full on here.