02/07/2014 11:14 am ET Updated Apr 09, 2014

UN Development Plan Must Incorporate Free Media

By Magnus Ag/CPJ Advocacy and Communications Officer

On Monday CPJ, along with close to 200 civil society groups from six continents, called on the United Nations to put government accountability and independent media at the center of a new framework for global development.

The U.N. is working to devise a global post-2015 development agenda to replace the eight Millennium Development Goals. The current goals range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, but do not include mention of democratic government or accountability--and thereby, neither do they include press freedom.

This week, the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals is meeting in New York for further discussions on incorporating governance. In the joint statement, coordinated by Article 19 and the Global Forum for Media Development, at least 197 organizations said access to information and media freedom are vital elements for a future development plan. The groups believe systems that allow people to hold governments accountable are fundamental to achieving economic growth, social equality, and environmental sustainability.


The coalition urges the UN to:

  • establish a specific goal to ensure good governance and effective institutions.
  • include as a component of this goal a clause to ensure people enjoy freedom of speech, association, peaceful protest, and access to independent media and information and to guarantee the public's right to information and access to government data.

Read the full statement here.

You can help us make sure delegates at the eighth session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (#OWG8) know where you stand by speaking out on social media. Here is a suggested Tweet:

#OWG8, #pressfreedom is crucial for global development & must be part of #Post2015 #SDGs.

Advocacy and Communications Officer Magnus Ag is a New York-based human rights advocate and journalist. Prior to joining CPJ in 2010, Ag worked as head of section in the Danish Ministry for Science, Technology, and Innovation. He holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in political science from the University of Copenhagen. He speaks English, Danish, and Norwegian.

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