One of the most important human rights, which is so often insufficiently appreciated, is the right to freedom of expression and accurate information. Yet across the world, journalists, bloggers and others are facing official and de facto restrictions on freedom of expression and communication. Drawing on the strength and expertise of a substantial group of Research Fellows, in 2017 the Institute of Commonwealth Studies established a project to examine the challenges to freedom of expression across the Commonwealth (a global subsystem of 54 member states), looking at local as well as international factors affecting journalistic freedom.
The project started with a conference on The Commonwealth and Challenges to Media Freedom held in April 2017.
Since then, 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 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.
The Press Freedom Index for Commonwealth countries (2013-2018), compiled by Reporters Without Borders, is now available.