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Defending Journalists and Activists

Journalists and activists are critical intermediaries connecting public officials with citizens and serving as government watchdogs. OGP members are committed to helping protect their rights and safety.

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Overview

Activists and journalists are at the heart of making open government work. Without them, the potential for accountable, inclusive, and responsive government is significantly weakened. 

OGP encourages journalists and activists to use the OGP process to help further the right to information and fight corruption. Journalists have participated in OGP processes and supported the implementation of OGP commitments in Croatia, Argentina, Armenia, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

Yet, in four out of five OGP countries, journalists report harassment, often from non-state actors. In a small but notable minority of OGP countries, activists face harassment, stigmatization, detention, and violence. In 50 OGP countries, there is inadequate investigation and prosecution of threats against journalists.  

Two thirds of countries with problems do not have commitments addressing them in their action plans. This accounts for 30 percent of OGP countries.

Upholding the rights of journalists and activists and ensuring their safety is fundamental to open government.


Fatou Jagne

Faces of Open Government: Fatou Jagne Senghore

Fatou Jagne Senghore is the Director for Article 19, West Africa. As the open government community observed Open Gov Week and World Press Freedom Day this month, Fatou reflects on...

SARS Protests

Defending Civic Space: How OGP Can Step Up

There is a major opportunity in 2021 to advance civic space reforms in OGP that go to the heart of some of the democratic backsliding the world has seen in recent years, and to showcase them at the 10th anniversary Global Summit in December of 2021.

sunset view over AB dam in Riga

Whistleblower Protection

Latvia’s State Chancellery, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau of Latvia (KNAB), and Transparency International Latvia (Delna) are increasing public awareness on reporting of breaches, including corruption, and the protections provided under the 2018 Whistleblower Protection Act. The Act promotes…


Recommendations

  • Develop or reinforce legal frameworks that protect the rights of activists, journalists, and independent media. These include establishing gender-sensitive/ responsive protocols; creating mechanisms that allow for independent and public-funded media platforms and avoid concentration of media ownership; and challenging or introducing amendments to draconian laws that may stifle a citizen’s right to dissent. Mongolia committed to draft a new law on media freedom and amended its law on national broadcasting to protect the rights of their journalists and ensure that media is free from the political influence of government, and that their finances are independent from government.
  • Tackle disinformation and strengthen access to information frameworks, with legal safeguards against rollbacks during times of crisis. State agencies should refrain from conducting propaganda campaigns and promote legal safeguards to protect the space for independent media and civil society to monitor and flag state-led disinformation campaigns. The United Kingdom developed practical guidelines on the use of social media as a mainstream channel to engage with citizens and the private sector.
  • Strengthen privacy laws to prevent unwanted digital surveillance of journalists, activists, and human rights defenders. Surveillance mechanisms even within the context of a health emergency must be lawful, necessary, and proportionate. Georgia committed to proactively publishing surveillance data.

Find more recommendations of actions to protect and enhance civic space here.


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.

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


Resources

  1. Actions to Protect and Enhance Civic Space

    Enhancing and protecting civic space is vital to achieving OGP’s bold goals of accelerating economic recovery, tackling systemic inequalities, and…

    2021, , Web Page

  2. Media Engagement in Open Government Partnership Processes: Entry Points and Recommendations

    The successful implementation of ambitious open government reforms, including commitments under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) framework, require broad coalitions,…

    2021, Research Product, Web Page

  3. Global Report - Defending Activists and Journalists

    Activists and journalists serve as critical intermediaries, connecting public institutions and decision-makers with everyday citizens.

    2019, Document, PDF

  4. Media Freedom and OGP

    Media and open government are underpinned by the shared belief in open and inclusive dialogue as a mechanism for more…

    2019, Document, PDF

  5. CIVICUS State of Civil Society Reports

    In CIVICUS' flagship annual publication find hundreds of pages of insight into the key trends affecting civil society organisations (CSOs)…

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  6. Press Freedom’s Dark Horizon

    Global press freedom declined to its lowest point in 13 years in 2016 due to unprecedented threats to journalists and…

    2017, Outbound Link, Web Page

  7. Transparency and Accountability's Civic Space Compendium

    Find examples of approaches, tools, and strategies from existing cross-disciplinary literature on the transparency, accountability, and civic participation space.

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  8. People Power Under Attack 2020: A Report Based on Data from the CIVICUS Monitor

    CIVICUS shares the status of civic freedoms in 196 countries, highlights regional trends and gives recommendations for enhancing civic space.

    2020, Outbound Link, Web Page


Commitments


Recent Content

Fatou Jagne

Faces of Open Government: Fatou Jagne Senghore

Fatou Jagne Senghore is the Director for Article 19, West Africa. As the open government community observed Open Gov Week and World Press Freedom Day this month, Fatou reflects on...

SARS Protests

Defending Civic Space: How OGP Can Step Up

There is a major opportunity in 2021 to advance civic space reforms in OGP that go to the heart of some of the democratic backsliding the world has seen in recent years, and to showcase them at the 10th anniversary Global Summit in December of 2021.

Renewal launch blog hero

Respond. Recover. Renew.

OGP turns ten in 2021. With more than 4,500 commitments made to date, we have much to celebrate. We are launching Open Renewal in our anniversary year in order to look forward and build on the lessons and accomplishments of the past.

Actions Header 2

Actions to Protect and Enhance Civic Space

Enhancing and protecting civic space is vital to achieving OGP’s bold goals of accelerating economic recovery, tackling systemic inequalities, and building resilient and citizen-centered democracies.

Show More
Open Government Partnership