Skip Navigation

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.

Overview | Recommendations | Partners | Data | Documents | Commitments | Recent Posts

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.

OGP is currently working to build on successful existing commitments in Croatia, Ireland, and Montenegro and to share these best practices with others. These commitments provide important protections such as whistleblower laws, task forces, and data collection.

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


A woman walks near a telecommunications tower in Mexico City

Attempting to Address Violence Against Activists and Journalists

Lessons from Reformers: The Mexican justice system suffers from lack of judicial independence and is part of a broader environment of impunity...

World Newspapers

Shifting Protections and Culture about Whistleblowers

Lessons from Reformers: Whistleblowers serve a critical social function by flagging neglect or abuses in the public and private sector...


Recommendations

  • Protect activists and journalists from unwarranted police investigations, provide access to legal counsel, guaranteed due process, and witness protection. Essential to this is an independent and non-susceptible judiciary.  Mongolia has a new media freedom law, which will protect journalistic confidentiality and insulate the media from political influence. Croatia has created mechanisms for journalists to speak out about censorship. Ireland has adopted strong and comprehensive whistleblower protections. 
  • Collect and share data, including reports on killing, harassment and other forms of violence. Colombia is creating a national archive to document and provide information about past victims of its armed conflict. Jordan is tracking human rights complaints in a database to ensure accountability and escalation of cases.
  • Train individuals and civic society organizations about their rights and the need to actively defend activists and journalists, including online. Norway advances freedom of information and countering attacks through its foreign assistance and development policies.
  • Understand that repression, harassment, and violence impacts women and minority groups (including sexual, racial, and religious minorities) differently. Take this difference into account when planning action steps.

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. 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

  2. Media Freedom and OGP

    2019, Document, PDF

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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


Commitments

  1. 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

  2. Human Rights Report

    UY0120, 2018, Civic Space

  3. Media Regulations Framework

    HR0033, 2018, Civic Space

  4. Improvements to Legal Aid

    ID0105, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Citizen Access Point

    UY0089, 2016, Capacity Building

  6. Create Favourable Environment for Media and Journalism

    MN0026, 2016, Civic Space

  7. Observatory on Digital Rights

    IT0053, 2016, Capacity Building

  8. Promote Freedom of Expression and Independent Media

    NO0051, 2016, Civic Space

  9. Strengthen the Framework Governing the Freedom of the Media

    JO0050, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Design and Start Implementing a Path of Action for National Public Policy Enforced Disappearances and Individuals with the Participation of Civil Society and Victims.

    MX0064, 2016, Civic Space

  11. Dialogue for the Analysis of the Impact of Information Society on Human Rights

    UY0065, 2016, Capacity Building

  12. Transparency of Privacy Programs and Practices

    US0069, 2015, Capacity Building

  13. Media Transparency

    HR0017, 2014, Civic Space

  14. Media-Sector Restructuring

    JO0047, 2014, 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


Recent Content

47955519602_98558fde0b_b_d[1]

What to Expect in the Year Ahead

With the leadership of the Steering Committee 2019-2020 co-chairs, OGP will focus on people-centered justice, digital governance, and stronger civic space in the year ahead.

28706672697_8bde3f8e78_h

Faces of Open Government: Suneeta Kaimal

Meet Suneeta Kaimal, an advocate for the protection of civic space and natural resource governance.

Cartagena, Colombia – August 2nd 2013 – The Colombian flag in the Cartagena Fort in a cloudy and windy day. Cartagena, Colombia

Opening up Information on Past Abuses

Lessons from Reformers: Colombia committed to create a national archive on human rights and historical memory to document the victims of its armed conflict...

A woman walks near a telecommunications tower in Mexico City

Attempting to Address Violence Against Activists and Journalists

Lessons from Reformers: The Mexican justice system suffers from lack of judicial independence and is part of a broader environment of impunity...

Show More