Principles on Information & Democracy

The Forum on Information & Democracy finds its mandate in two complementary texts

International Partnership on Information & Democracy

The International Partnership on Information and Democracy is an intergovernmental non-binding agreement endorsed by 38 countries around the world to promote and implement democratic principles in the global information and communication space. It was formally signed during the 74th UN General Assembly in September 2019.

Through this Partnership, signatory States affirm the following principles:

  • The global information and communication space, which is a shared public good of significant democratic value, must support the exercise of human rights, most notably the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, through any media of one’s choice regardless of frontiers, in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 19).
  • Access to reliable information must be protected and promoted to enable democratic participation and the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression.
  • Information can be regarded as reliable insofar as its collection, processing and dissemination are free and independent, based on cross-checking of various sources, in a pluralistic media landscape where the facts can give rise to a diversity of interpretation and viewpoints.
  • In accordance with the international law and standards on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, journalists and media workers, in the course of their function, must be protected against all forms of violence, threats, and discrimination; against all forms of arbitrary detention, abusive legal proceedings; against any unduly restrictive efforts to prevent them from carrying out their works and have access to appropriate legal remedies, including as relevant with respect to the confidentiality of their sources.
  • Sustainable business models must be developed to serve high-quality independent journalism.

Signatory States also call on the online service providers that structure global information and communication space to more accountability, transparency and neutrality. 

Endorsements of the Partnership

Costa Rica
Czech Republic
South Africa
South Korea
United Kingdom

International Declaration on Information & Democracy

This Partnership is based on the International Declaration on Information & Democracy. The Declaration defines the global information and communication space as a “common good of humankind” placing its management under the responsibility of humankind in its entirety.

Published in November 2018, the Declaration

  • Justifies the needed obligations imposed on the entities that shape this “common good of humankind”.
  • Affirms the link between freedom of opinion and factual truths. 
  • Enshrines the right to reliable information as a constituent of the right to freedom of opinion.
  • Requires the promotion of “reliable information”.
  • Requires the promotion of pluralism and serendipity in the algorithmic curation.
  • Justifies the transparency requirements to which entities that shape the globalized space should abide.
  • Enshrines the principle of individual responsibility of participants in the public debate.
  • Enshrines the social function of journalism as “trusted third party”.
  • Affirms that the function of journalism within societies strengthens the protection and independence of journalists.
  • Calls for the creation of an international group of information experts.

Commission on Information & Democracy

The International Declaration on Information & Democracy was published on November 5th 2018 by an international Commission chaired by Christophe Deloire, RSF Secretary General and Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Emily Bell

United Kingdom

Academic and journalist, professor of Professional Practice at the Columbia University School of Journalism and director of the Tow Centre for Digital Journalism

Yochai Benkler

United states

Author, professor at Harvard Law School and faculty co-director of the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

Teng Biao


Academic lawyer and human rights activist, visiting scholar at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute, New York University

Nighat Dad


Lawyer, Internet activist, and founder and executive director of the Digital Rights Foundation

Primavera De Filippi


Faculty associate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and permanent researcher at the CERSA

Mireille Delmas-Marty


Emeritus professor at Collège de France and member of the Institut de France

Christophe Deloire


Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Abdou Diouf


Former President of the Republic of Senegal and former secretary-general of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)

Can Dündar


Journalist, columnist and documentary filmmaker; and former editor-in- chief of the centre-left independent newspaper Cumhuriyet

Shirin Ebadi


Lawyer, former judge, human rights activist, founder of Defenders of Human Rights Centre and 2003 Nobel peace laureate

Francis Fukuyama

United States

Political scientist and political economist, professor at Stanford University

Ulrik Haagerup


Journalist and founder and CEO of Constructive Institute

Hauwa Ibrahim


Human rights lawyer and 2005 laureate of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize

Ann Marie Lipinski

United States

Journalist, curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Adam Michnik


Historian, journalist and essayist, editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza

Eli Pariser

United States

Executive director at Upworthy, co-founder of Avaaz and chairman of MoveOn

Antoine Petit


Head of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), former President and CEO of the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA)

Navi Pillay

South Africa

Jurist, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Maria Ressa


Journalist and CEO of the Rappler news website

Amartya Sen


Economist, philosopher and 1998 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences

Joseph E. Stiglitz

United States

Economist, 1998 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences

Mario Vargas Llosa


Writer, politician, journalist, essayist, college professor and 2010 Nobel laureate in Literature

Marina Walker

United States

Journalist, deputy director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (USA) and John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University

Aidan White

United Kingdom

Journalist, president and founder of the Ethical Journalism Network and former general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists

Mikhail Zygar


Journalist, writer, founding editor-in-chief of the independent news TV- channel Dozhd, 2014 laureate of the International Press Freedom Award, CPJ