Commonwealth Law Ministers have pushed forward discussion around freedom of speech and the role of the media as key elements for good governance across member states.
This is the first in-person meeting of Law Ministers since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attendees have unanimously agreed to recommend the ‘Commonwealth Principles on Freedom of Expression and the Role of the Media in Good Governance’ to Commonwealth Leaders to consider at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Ahead of this week’s discussions, Law Ministers received a paper to consider on freedom of expression and the role of the media in good governance in the Commonwealth.
Welcoming the consensus, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, said:
“I welcome the unanimous agreement of Law Ministers today to progress these principles for recommendation to Leaders at our next Heads of Government meeting.
“The indispensable role of the media, the 4th estate, in a modern democracy cannot be overstated. Our Commonwealth Charter affirms that freedom of expression, including media freedom, is essential to the flourishing of democratic societies and a basic condition for development.
“An important role of the Commonwealth is to help to build consensus amongst our members on the vital issues that they face.
“By realising the values and aspirations of our Charter across all the countries of the Commonwealth, we will deliver political, economic and social systems and services which are robust, effective and fair, resulting in reduced demands on justice systems in the future.”