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The right to information: Strengthening democracy, good governance & development Pippa Norris Democratic Governance Group/UNDP www.und.org/governance/

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Presentation on theme: "The right to information: Strengthening democracy, good governance & development Pippa Norris Democratic Governance Group/UNDP www.und.org/governance/"— Presentation transcript:

1 The right to information: Strengthening democracy, good governance & development Pippa Norris Democratic Governance Group/UNDP

2 Structure I.Claims for the right to information II.Comparing freedom of the press III.The impact of the free press IV.Conclusions

3 The right to information Freedom of Information is a fundamental human right and the touchstone for all freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated »UN General Assembly, (1946) Resolution 59(1), 65th Plenary Meeting, December 14. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers »Universal Declaration of Human Rights Art 19

4 Why a right to information? Intrinsic value of freedom of information Promotes other human rights Instrumental value of freedom of information for achieving the Millennium Development Goals Open government generates accountability of decision-making process Transparency reduces corruption Promotes responsive government by highlighting issues of public concern and human need Empowers participation by the poor Promotes public deliberation and informed electoral choices May possibly bolster trust and confidence in government Rights implemented by direct access of individual citizens and indirect information through freedom of the press

5 II:Comparing freedom of the press

6 Indicators Measures of press freedom – Freedom House Press Freedom Index ( ) – Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, 2004

7 FH Index of Press Freedom Freedom House Press Freedom Index (100 points) in 191 nations 1.The structure of the news-delivery system : The laws and administrative decisions and their influence on the content of the news media. (0-15) 2.The degree of political influence Control over the content of the news systems. (0-15) 3.The economic influences on news content by the government or private entrepreneurs. Governmental control of newsprint, official advertising, or other financial relationships; or from pressure on media content from market competition in the private sector. (0-15) 4.Actual violations against the media Including murder, physical attack, harassment, and censorship. (0-5). Source: Freedom House

8 Measures of press freedom

9 Press freedom by global region Source: Freedom House Index of Press Freedom, 2005

10 Global Press Freedom Source: Freedom House Index of Press Freedom, 2005

11 Press freedom by income Source: Freedom House Index of Press Freedom, 2005

12 What is the impact of the free press on good governance and democracy? Global comparisons –Kaufmann et al/ World bank indicators of good governance –Democratic indicators by Polity IV, Vanhanen, and Cheibub Conditions –GDP, colonial heritage, regional diffusion, ethnic fractionalization

13 Free press & democracy

14 Press Freedom by democracy Source: Freedom House Index of Press Freedom, 2005

15 Free press & good governance

16 Conclusions Key findings: Press freedom is directly related to democratization Press freedom matters for many aspects of good governance Is freedom of information indirectly linked to human development: next steps in research

17 Next steps If important, how is freedom of information best achieved? –Freedom of information legislation –An enabling policy framework for regulating the media –Public demands for access to official information –Liberalization of media ownership


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