Freedom of expression and access to information represent key measurable targets for a sustainable development goal focused on governance. This was a key conclusion at a meeting of representatives of an international coalition of more than 200 organizations held in Washington DC on 12 June.
Convened by UNESCO and the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) and hosted by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), the workshop brought together measurement experts to assess how possible governance-related goals developed by the UN Open Working Group could be strengthened in light of the need to develop appropriate targets and indicators for measuring the effectiveness of freedom of expression and access to information in delivering on sustainable development.
Fackson Banda, UNESCO programme specialist working to advance UNESCO’s media agenda in the post-2015 consultations, highlighted UNESCO’s leadership in developing and implementing measurement initiatives related to freedom of expression and media development.
He cited several UNESCO’s assessment tools, including:
- the Media Development Indicators
- Journalists’ Safety Indicators
- freedom-of-expression-related aspects of the Universal Periodic Review
- the World Trends Report on Freedom of Expression and Media Development
- Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media
In a subsequent statement, the workshop participants endorsed UNESCO’s leadership in taking the lead role in monitoring progress toward the achievement of these goals. In this regard, they urged the UNESCO Institute of Statistics to play an advisory role in the collection of relevant data that could inspire the confidence of the international community.
The meeting is a follow-up to UNESCO’s recent initiatives aimed at demonstrating the correlation between free media and sustainable development.
In May, during the World Press Freedom international conference held at the Organization’s Headquarters in Paris, UNESCO hosted a similar meeting which paved way for the special measurement session in Washington DC.