The Information and Democracy Partnership : guarantee access to reliable information [fr]

The Information and Democracy Partnership responds to the need to promote an environment conducive to reliable information for citizens, in order to enable them to forge an informed opinion in a context where large-scale online misinformation is sapping trust in institutions and democratic processes, where private stakeholders outside the democratic framework hold increasing sway, where professional journalism is weakened and where political control over the media persists in several countries.

Drawing from the work of the International Commission created by Reporters Without Borders, France launched an initiative calling for States to take action at the first Paris Peace Forum together with 11 partners (Burkina Faso, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Norway, Senegal, Switzerland, Turkey). A text, entitled “Information and Democracy Partnership ” was finalized in June 2019 and was formally signed by States on 26 September 2019 in New York.

This text lays down the principles and objectives to promote access to reliable information. The Signatory States commit to promoting national and international legal frameworks encouraging freedom of opinion and expression and access to reliable information. They invite businesses which play key roles in international news and information to respect principles of transparency, responsibility and neutrality and to ensure that their activities are compatible with human rights in order to promote reliable information.

At the initiative of Reporters Without Borders and a coalition of independent organizations, a Stakeholder Forum was launched during the second Paris Peace Forum in November 2019 to support to implementation of the Partnership by drawing up recommendations.

A first working group presented a report on infodemics in November 2020, focusing on four structural challenges calling for reinforced regulation: platform transparency; meta-regulation of content moderation; promotion of information reliability; and the merging of the public and private space when closed messaging services become de facto unregulated public spaces.

A second working group of the Forum on Information and Democracy presented in June 2021 a report dedicated to the sustainability of journalism.

List of participating countries (as of 24 June 2021)

Andorra, Australia, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia and United Kingdom.

Ministerial Summit for Information and Democracy - 24 September 2021

Two years after the September 2019 launch of the International Partnership for Information and Democracy, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian brought together, with the support of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Member States of the Partnership, heads of international organizations and representatives of civil society and private stakeholders in the digital technology sector, for the first ministerial Summit for Information and Democracy, organized in New York on the sidelines of the 76th UN General Assembly High-Level Week.

The Chair of the Forum on Information and Democracy and Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Mr Christophe Deloire, highlighted the importance of preserving a “democratic information space”.

All participants noted the worrying deterioration of the public space, everywhere in the world, due to misinformation and growing restrictions on freedom of expression and of the press, which the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated. They also examined the profound transformations caused by the rise of social media.

The work carried out at the Summit focused specifically on three topics:

  • democratic requirements in terms of regulating content on social media, to better combat the scourge of infodemics;
  • the economic sustainability of journalism, the model of which is undermined by the development of digital platforms;
  • the system of accountability to be put in place for social media and their users, in particular concerning high-audience accounts.

The recommendations issued in the first two reports by the Forum on Information and Democracy, dedicated to the fight against infodemics (November 2020) and the challenges of the economic sustainability of journalism (June 2021), were studied on this occasion. The Forum announced it would be producing a third report on accountability and account management on social media.

The creation of a coalition of around forty NGOs to strengthen mobilization in support of access to reliable information from free and independent media outlets, and of an International Observatory on Information and Democracy, which would produce a regular report on developments in the global information space, was announced at the Summit.

Lastly, the participants agreed to meet once a year, in the framework of the ministerial Summit for Information and Democracy, to carry out further work.

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Jean-Yves le Drian and Christophe Deloire at the Information and Democracy Summet in New York - 24 September 2021.

Dernière modification : 29/09/2021

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