The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has urged regional governments to create an enabling environment for freedom of expression and access to information in terms of the Windhoek+30 Declaration. This comes as UNESCO member states on 18 November 2021 adopted the principles contained in the Windhoek+30 Declaration on information as a public good. Pindula News presents MISA statement on the development.
Statement on the recent UNESCO resolution on information access.
UNESCO member states on 18 November 2021 adopted by proclamation, the principles contained in the Windhoek+30 Declaration on information as a public good.
The 193 members who met in Paris, endorsed the draft resolution in adopting the principles contained in the Windhoek+30 Declaration.
Following the endorsement of the principles, the member states called on the UNESCO Director-General to ensure that support is given to activities that will facilitate the achievement of the goals of the declaration.
The member states stressed the growing importance of information as a public good, including the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The 2021 World Press Freedom Day Celebrations were hosted in Windhoek, Namibia under the theme: Information as a Public Good.
The Windhoek+30 Declaration will serve as the basis to further advance the ongoing pursuit for a free, independent, and pluralistic media.
MISA served as rapporteur and moderator at the Africa Forum, which was part of this year’s World Press Freedom Day Celebrations in Namibia.
The adoption of the principle of information as a public good serves as a reminder of the importance of access to information, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In that regard, MISA calls on regional governments to create an enabling environment for freedom of expression and access to information in terms of the Windhoek+30 Declaration.
The Declaration recognises the centrality of information as a public good in empowering citizens to exercise their fundamental rights, support gender equality, and participation and trust in democratic governance and sustainable development, leaving no one behind.
Southern Africa continues to lag behind in terms of countries that have access to information laws and the Windhoek+30 Declaration should serve as a reminder of the importance of ensuring that information is a public good.
MISA calls on countries such as Eswatini, Lesotho and Zambia, that are yet to enact access to information laws, to ensure that this is done expeditiously and in the best interests of their citizens.