On 26 September 2019, during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, the Foreign Minister of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in the signing ceremony for the Declaration on “International Partnership for Information and Democracy”.
The Declaration points out that the emergence of a global information and communication space has not only enhanced the possibilities for individuals to exercise their right to freedom of expression and their access to information but it has also resulted in new ways to censor, manipulate and control information. The Partnership for Information and Democracy emphasises the value of freedom of opinion and expression and considers the right to seek, receive and impart information to be an intrinsic part of this freedom. Access to the information and communication space is essential for full democratic participation. The Declaration on partnership also considers information to be trustworthy and reliable only when its collection, processing and dissemination are free and independent, based on the cross-checking of various sources, and with a pluralistic media landscape where facts themselves can give rise to a diversity of interpretation and viewpoints. The Declaration also underlines the crucial role of journalism, affirming the importance of strengthening sustainable business models to serve high-quality journalism, and the importance of editorial independence and media freedom. The Partnership is committed to prevent and fight against governmental and non-governmental censorship, information manipulation, and restrictions placed on media freedom and the freedom of opinion and expression.
The practical aim of the Declaration is to welcome and continue the work being carried out by “Reporters Without Borders” (RSF), by placing the priorities of the Partnership on the United Nation’s global agenda including through cooperation with other independent NGOs specifically on questions of information and democracy.
The Declaration signed by Latvia was an initiative brought forward by France following upon the Joint Declaration by 12 Heads of State or Government on the occasion of the First Paris Peace Forum on 11 November 2018.
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