The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), an intergovernmental coalition of 38 members committed to ensuring the use of the Internet and digital technologies to reinforce human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, has endorsed the Media Freedom Coalition’s (MFC) statement condemning transnational repression of journalists and media workers.
FOC demonstrated its show of solidarity by endorsing MFC’s statement expressing concern over the increasing acts of transnational repression of journalists and media workers.
MFC had earlier released a statement addressing the growing threats of transnational repression targeted at journalists and media workers across the globe. This wave of repression, according to MFC, is characterized by acts such as assassinations, detentions, defamation, physical and digital harassment, and the misuse of surveillance technology, and has raised concerns through the global journalistic community.
While expressing deep concern, MFC noted that transnational repression poses a significant threat not only to journalists, media workers, and their families, but also to the fundamental principles of democracy, good governance, and human rights.
Highlighting the evolving nature of this threat, MFC revealed that traditional methods of transnational repression are now often coupled with newer, digital forms to control, silence, and punish journalists who engage in critical reporting from abroad.
MFC in its statement also called attention to the repercussions of transnational repression. According to the Coalition, “Transnational repression raises the cost of reporting, pushing journalists and media workers towards self-censorship. The effect created by these repressive measures may deter journalists from investigating and reporting on crucial issues and hinders the free flow of information. Transnational repression not only silences critical voices, but also undermines the fundamental role of a free and independent media as a check and balance for informed decision making and as a critical tool to hold powerful actors accountable by laying bare corruption, injustice and other wrongdoing.”
It called on governments to meet their obligations under international human rights law, to cease and counter transnational repression, and protect journalists and media workers against human rights violations and abuses.
Endorsing the MFC statement, the FOC acknowledged the rising concerns about the misuse of digital technologies, which threaten access to information and fundamental freedoms. It also emphasized the need for safeguarding individuals, including journalists and human rights defenders, from online rights violations that hinder their ability to carry out their professions without fear of censorship, unwarranted surveillance, attacks, reprisals, intimidation, politically motivated prosecutions, and arbitrary libel suits.
Additionally, the FOC reiterates the fundamental importance of diverse, inclusive, and protected civic participation online.