The Foreign Minister is presenting the strategy at an event in Oslo today for representatives of civil society, academia and others who have provided input.
‘Freedom of expression is the foundation on which all other democratic freedoms rest. Freedom of expression must be safeguarded and promoted tirelessly, every day and in every single country. We want everyone to be able to express their opinions openly, and be able to receive and share information freely,’ said Mr Brende.
As part of Norway’s foreign and development policy, the Government will step up its efforts to support independent media, provide protection for people who express their opinions publicly, and improve public access to information. These are three cornerstones of the effort to ensure real participation and influence on decision-making processes.
‘Access to information is a new focus area for Norway’s international efforts. Access to information is vital if people are to be able to make informed decisions about their own lives, and to make it possible for them to understand and exercise their rights,’ said the Foreign Minister.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will promote openness, a free flow of information and access to the internet, and will initiate further steps to develop international norms on the right of access to information. Active efforts are needed to ensure that freedom of expression is safeguarded as new forms of communication and new technology platforms are developed.
A wide range of media channels is needed to ensure that people have access to a variety of sources of information. They can shine a critical spotlight on the exercise of power and authority and promote openness and accountability. The Ministry will therefore support training for journalists, other media staff and heads of media organisations.