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The Commonwealth and Challenges to Media Freedom

Citation: Onslow, Sue (2018) The Commonwealth and Challenges to Media Freedom. The Round Table, 107 (2). pp. 131-136. ISSN 1474-029X

The Commonwealth and Challenges to Media Freedom Intro.pdf

Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0

The absence of the official Commonwealth from the public debates on issues around media freedom—not least the disquieting rising number of attacks on journalists in countries across the association1—needs to be addressed.2 Other multilateral organisations and agencies have taken a firm and highly visible lead, coordinating a wide range of activities and institutional frameworks to underpin the safety of journalists, government frameworks of accountability, and issues around access to information.3 In contrast to the quiescent Commonwealth, the Francophonie’s work on education, structures and adjudication in this area is particularly striking.4 Yet Commonwealth civil society organisations have done considerable work in the past on this issue, so the official Commonwealth does not have to reinvent the wheel. The Commonwealth Expert Group publication, Freedom of Expression, Association and Assembly, published in 2003, set out core frameworks and areas of activity, yet this report has dropped below the horizon. The fate of this historic Commonwealth energy and activity on media freedom issues underlines that until and unless there is ‘ownership’ by a core group of governments, ‘soft power’ initiatives by civil society will remain largely irrelevant

Creators: Onslow, Sue (0000-0003-0998-3632) and
Official URL:
Subjects: Human Rights & Development Studies
Divisions: Institute of Commonwealth Studies
  • 9 February 2018 (accepted)
  • 17 April 2018 (published)


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