Summit for Democracy
On 29 and 30 March 2023 the Netherlands will be one of the co-hosts of the second Summit for Democracy, organised by the United States. The other co-hosts are Costa Rica, Zambia and South Korea. Around the world, democracy and human rights are under threat. Together, we must do everything we can to ensure that democratic principles are not further undermined.
Programme Summit for Democracy
During the first day of the Summit for Democracy, the political leaders of the four co-host countries will each chair a session on the challenges democracies face and the potential ways we can respond. Prime Minister Rutte will chair a session on the theme ‘Democracy– Delivering Justice for All’.
On 30 March, the Netherlands, as co-host for the broader European region, will also hold an event on media freedom. The Netherlands is working around the world to protect and promote fundamental principles such as democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Freedom of expression is a precondition for a well-functioning democracy, and the media play a key role in this regard. The media have the platforms and resources to develop ideas and stimulate the public debate, so that people can make up their own minds.
Freedom of the press and independent media can never be taken for granted, however. In many countries, including in Europe, media freedom is under threat and women journalists in particular are the targets of abuse. Read more about what the Netherlands is doing to promote freedom of expression, internet freedom and independent journalism around the world.
Important themes for the Summit for Democracy
Media freedom and democracy
Freedom of expression is a precondition for a well-functioning democracy, and the media play a key role in this regard. The media have the platforms and resources to develop ideas and stimulate the public debate, so that people can make up their own minds. A total of 85% of the global population are experiencing a decline in media freedom in their respective countries. In Europe too, media freedom is under threat; as stated in the most recent annual report from Safety of Journalists Platform: ‘War in Europe and the Fight for the Right to Report’.
Ensuring journalists’ safety
Journalists face many risks when carrying out their work and some have even been murdered because they’ve dared to speak out against those in power. Between 2016 and 2021 455 journalists around the world lost their lives, and that is, of course, not including the journalists who have died as a result of the war in the Ukraine. In 9 out of 10 cases, crimes against journalists go unpunished. But the fight against impunity goes on, even for crimes committed 40 years ago, such as the murders of four journalists working for Dutch broadcasting organisation IKON in El Salvador. What steps need to be taken to ensure journalists’ digital, physical and psychosocial safety? Various projects offer a safe haven for journalists under threat, such as Shelter Cities. For instance, Peruvian photo journalist Atoq managed to get some respite in Shelter City The Hague.
Freedom of expression online
The advent of social media has made it possible for anyone and everyone to share their views with the rest of the world. But social media can also be used to spread fake news. And what can we do to stop women journalists being the targets of online abuse? Legislation to protect freedom of expression online must be improved in order to counteract hate speech, online threats and the dissemination of disinformation. In addition, digital platforms need to pay more attention to the basic principles of journalism, so that dialogue can take place in an ethical, respectful manner.
Strengthening free, diverse and independent media
The coronavirus pandemic and the emergence of all sorts of online platforms meant a loss of advertising revenue for traditional media and newsrooms were forced to cut jobs. This has put pressure on independent journalism. The financial viability of free media is important for us all. How can we increase resilience in this regard? It is also vital that all population groups are seen and heard in the media. Diversity and gender equality are essential, not just in the production process but also in terms of content.