A Dhaka Declaration was launched on Sunday defending media freedom, journalists’ protection and citizen’s rights from the grassroots level to international institutions.
The declaration came ahead of the second ‘Global Conference for Media Freedom-2020’ which will be held on November 16 virtually.
Canada and Botswana will co-host the conference which will provide a forum to strengthen joint efforts in defending media freedom worldwide, connect with journalists and media workers, civil society and governments.
The Dhaka Declaration has been developed based on the recommendations put forward by the participants at the virtual consultation on Defending Media Freedom for Democracy and Citizen’s Rights in Bangladesh organized by ARTICLE 19 Bangladesh and South Asia in collaboration with the Canadian High Commission and the British High Commission in Dhaka on November 2.
More than 140 human-rights defenders, human rights-based organizations, local and national level journalists, activists, law experts, professors and civil society representatives signed the declaration until November 14, said a media release.
A broad group of experts, including journalists, media organizations, international organizations, head of the international missions and embassies, academics, law experts, bloggers, activists, human rights defenders, women, and marginalized journalist groups, youth leaders, and civil society representatives attended the consultation and discussed how to address the challenges to media freedom and the role of media in a vibrant democracy.
The Dhaka Declaration covered a range of topics concerning media freedom and civic space in Bangladesh.
It highlighted three foremost concerns: prevention, protection, and prosecution; in relation to the four key priorities: Media Freedom and Democracy; Safety of Journalists and Right to Information (RTI); Gender and Social inclusion; and Youth Leadership Building to claim civic space.
The declaration sent to the Global Conference on Media Freedom pledged to stand together to abolish laws, policies, and government directions that directly and indirectly limit press freedom.
It pledged to work together to provide a safe, harassment-free workplace to female journalists and stand against the laws and actions that restrain the voices of journalists.
It also pledged to provide a safe for youth participation in civic space and increase their participation in civic-engagement and decision-making processes.
The recommendations included in the declaration calls on the State, civil society, journalists’ associations, media houses, academia, and national and global leaders to formulate and implement laws to ensure the prevention, protection, and persecution of the journalists with the four priority issues for media freedom and open civic space in Bangladesh.