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