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International Declaration on Information and Democracy Adopted

International Declaration on Information and Democracy Adopted

The "International Declaration on Information and Democracy“ wants to create some sort of a constitution for the public. In her new blog article at JuWiss.de, Amélie Heldt analyses how useful this is.

An international commission consisting of journalists, Nobel laureates and members of civil society adopted the "International Declaration on Information and Democracy“ under the leadership of the non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders on 5 November 2018 in Paris. The declaration is reminiscent of the UN Charter of Human Rights and seeks to establish principles for a global public sphere.

The six-page document calls, for example, for the right of access to reliable information or the right to privacy within the public discourse. Part of the declaration is dedicated to those actors who play a major role in shaping digital communication nowadays. According to the text, it is their duty to respect democratic principles within communication spaces created by them.

How useful are those declarations? Amélie Heldt, junior researcher at the Hans-Bredow-Institut, writes in her new blog article on JuWiss.de that declarations like these initially face a fundamental problem. "Like the 'Charta of Digital Fundamental Rights' or the 'Declaration of Internet Freedom', the ['International Declaration on Information and Democracy'] does not have a binding effect. It could serve as a basis for an international agreement or a UN resolution but at the moment its effectiveness is based only on the personal recognition that its signatories receive in professional circles worldwide."

Heldt criticises specifically that the often used term "truth" is defined too vaguely in the new declaration. Furthermore, the declaration repeats many things that others have already demanded, which makes it lack a unique selling point. The entire analysis can be read on JuWiss.de.

(09 November 2018)

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