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Defending Journalists and Activists

Journalists and activists are critical intermediaries connecting public officials with citizens, and they are the watchdogs driving truth.

Introduction and Overview

Activists and journalists are at the heart of making open government work. They are the critical intermediaries connecting public officials with citizens, and they are the watchdogs driving truth through greater transparency.

Journalists face threats in a vast majority of OGP countries, and some continue to experience troubling instances of activist harassment, stigmatization, and even violence. As frontline promoters of activism and civic engagement, there are a number of concrete actions OGP countries can take to defend their essential role.


In many countries, citizens’ ability to freely express political and social opinions is limited by laws or executive orders. Italy, Jordan, Mongolia, Norway, Ghana, Croatia, Georgia, and the UK, among others, are using their OGP action plans to improve the legal framework for an independent media, promote transparency in public media contracts and concessions, and protect online privacy and personal data.

The following are action steps that governments can take to ensure freedom of expression.

  • Analyze the digital rights of citizens and remove limiting factors
    • In Italy, the government committed to establishing a group to promote the Charter of Internet Rights, which would analyze the level of digital rights of citizens, increase awareness, and remove limiting factors to online freedom
  • Ensure media meets international standards of independence
    • In Mongolia, one commitment sought to bring Mongolian media up to international standards and ensure media independence, while another consulted media and civil society about the environment for media in the country
  • Publish statistics on law enforcement activities to ensure transparency and accountability
    • In Georgia, the Supreme Court published quarterly statistics on law enforcement surveillance activities to ensure transparency and accountability


  1. Human Rights report

    UY0120, 2018, Civic Space

  2. Media regulations framework

    HR0033, 2018, Civic Space

  3. Improvements to Legal Aid

    ID0105, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Punto de acceso ciudadano

    UY0089, 2016, Capacity Building

  5. Create favourable environment for media and journalism

    MN0026, 2016, Civic Space

  6. Observatory on Digital Rights

    IT0053, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Promote freedom of expression and independent media

    NO0051, 2016, Civic Space

  8. Strengthen the framework governing the freedom of the media

    JO0050, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Diseñar e iniciar la ejecución de una ruta de acción para la política pública nacional en materia de desaparición forzada y por particulares con la participación de la sociedad civil y víctimas.

    MX0064, 2016, Civic Space

  10. Dialogo para el análisis del impacto de la Sociedad de la Información en los Derechos Humanos

    UY0065, 2016, Capacity Building

  11. Transparency of Privacy Programs and Practices

    US0069, 2015, Capacity Building

  12. Media Transparency

    HR0017, 2014, Civic Space

  13. Media-sector restructuring

    JO0047, 2014, Civic Space

  14. Starred commitment Improving Access to Information on Expending Public Resources and Contents of Relevant Registers: Implementation of acts on political activity and campaign financing

    HR0006, 2012, Civic Space

  15. Protection of persons reporting corruption

    ME0037, 2012, Civic Space

  16. Combatting all forms of discrimination: Carry out activities defined in the signed Memorandum of Cooperation with the NGOs

    ME0047, 2012, Civic Space

  17. Improving media freedoms

    ME0052, 2012, Civic Space

  18. Strengthening the financial and operational independence of the National Center for Human Rights.

    JO0015, 2012, Civic Space

  19. Law on public broadcasting

    UA0009, 2012, Civic Space

  20. Develop practical guidelines on departmental access to internet and social media

    UK0036, 2011, Civic Space

  21. Publish Protection Resources

    MX0010, 2011, Defending Journalists and Activists

  22. Evaluation of Human Rights Obligations

    MX0012, 2011, Civic Space

OGP Global Report Data

The data below is drawn from the 2019 OGP Global Report. You can view and learn more about the report here.

These are members making OGP commitments to improve their performance in the respective policy area. As members that have demonstrated political commitment through OGP, the next step is ensuring that implemented commitments have maximal impact.

Indicates that member has a starred commitment in this policy area.

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