New York, June 5, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the declaration today by leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations that democratic governance and human rights should be integral to the post-2015 development agenda. The United Nations is seeking agreement on a broad set of sustainable development objectives to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015 and which made no mention of political or civil rights. The new goals will provide a framework for donor aid and thus influence priorities for years to come.
“The G-7 member states’ explicit support for democratic governance and human rights is a strong step in the right direction,” said Courtney C. Radsch, CPJ’s advocacy director. “We call on the representatives of each member state and the European Union to emphasize to their counterparts working on the sustainable development goals to ensure that good governance and human rights, including a specific indicator on freedom of expression and access to information, are included in the final formulation.”
A growing chorus of experts and organizations–citing research that shows a free and independent press plays a central role in the exercise of democracy, the prevention of corruption, and the promotion of transparency–are calling for the inclusion of good governance and fundamental freedoms, such as the rights to expression and information. The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals will decide whether to codify such a goal when it submits to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon its detailed suggestions this summer. In April, CPJ sent a letter to the heads of the working group urging them to do so.