UNESCO and the Unit for Documentation and Freedom of Expression of the Malmö City Archives recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their commitment and cooperation in promoting freedom of expression, access to public information, artistic freedom, and the protection of human rights.
The agreement follows the visit by representatives of the Malmö City Archives to UNESCO in Paris in 2019, and their subsequent participation in the World Press Freedom Day celebrations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the 3 May 2019.
Across the world, archives preserve and allow access to material and information essential to the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms of expression, artistic freedom and freedom of information. The role of archives is essential to keep trace of human actions and knowledge for current and future generations. In addition, they also play an important role in ensuring administrative transparency, democratic accountability, and preserving individual as well as collective memory.
Building on a similar initiative known as the “Archives at Risk” project - which includes the partnership of the United Nations, UNESCO, the World Broadcasting Unions, and the Federation of International Television Archives (FIAT) - this agreement will facilitate the development and dissemination of good practices related to freedom of expression standards, and guidelines for the preservation of historical information and documentation.
In so doing, this agreement is an important step towards the preservation and accessibility of documentary heritage, including in its digital form, the promotion of freedom of expression, transparency and access to public information. It will contribute in that sense to taking forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically Sustainable Development Goal Target 16.10 on ensuring public access to information and protecting fundamental freedoms.