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Focus area

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression – including media freedom – is a core priority for the Commonwealth: recognised in the Charter as a prerequisite for democratic societies in which Commonwealth citizens are constructively engaged in governance and decision-making and can hold their governments to account.

The Foundation’s work, over many years, has confirmed that without freedom of opinion and expression, all else is at risk. From the right to food (Charter, Section XI), to the right to participate in government (Charter, Section I), to transparent and accountable governance (Charter, Section VIII): all hinges on the capacity of a society to understand what is going on and be able to speak out. The Foundation’s mandate – to support vibrant and free civil society throughout the Commonwealth – places a special obligation on us to help advance freedom of expression.

The Foundation is maintaining and strengthening our commitment to promoting freedom of expression across the Commonwealth by prioritising projects through our grant-making programme that encourage media freedom, civic participation in governance and the use of creative expression to push for real and lasting change. Through work including our Critical Conversations series, we continue to provide spaces for civil society to engage in free and open discussion and debate, integrate creative voices into advocacy, and explore ways to support and strengthen quality journalism, particularly in small and vulnerable states. Our Creative programme continues to support organisations, storytellers and artists to realise their right to creative expression and advance issues that matter to their communities and the wider Commonwealth.

Commonwealth Charter V

Freedom of expression

We are committed to peaceful, open dialogue and the free flow of information, including through a free and responsible media, and to enhancing democratic traditions and strengthening democratic processes.

Sustainable Development Goal 16

Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies and (target 10) ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.

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