The United States joins the Partnership on Information and Democracy

On the occasion of the second Summit for Information and Democracy organized on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the United States announced that it would join the initiative launched by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in 2018.

At the Summit for Information and Democracy, organized by the Forum on Information and Democracy and France on September 22, 2022, Elizabeth Allen, Senior Official for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, who represented U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, announced that the United States has joined the International Partnership for Information and Democracy. Uruguay has also joined the Partnership on this occasion. 

The summit was co-chaired by the French Foreign minister Catherine Colonna and the chair of the Forum on Information and Democracy, Christophe Deloire, in the presence of Volker Turk, Under-Secretary of the United Nations. 

Launched in 2019 as an initiative of RSF, and based on the principles laid down by the International Commission on Information and Democracy, composed by Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, Maria Ressa, Shirin Ebadi and 21 other personalities, the intergovernmental Partnership now has 47 member states. It aims to establish democratic guarantees in the global information and communication space.

"I am honored to be here and pleased to announce that the United States is joining the International Partnership for Information and Democracy”, said Elizabeth Allen, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. “We know there’s not a single global issue we can solve alone, and we look forward to continuing to work with all of you to advance democratic principles in the communications and information space. We are joining the Partnership at a crucial time. Globally, media freedom is in decline, thanks in part to two crucial instigating factors: the role of disinformation and the challenges to the sustainability of journalism." 

She added, "we are deeply honored by the opportunity to join this Partnership and explore new opportunities for collaboration. It is through platforms like the Partnership that we convene, innovate, build consensus, and work to create a more democratic information and communication ecosystem. We are stronger together, and the United States is eager to get to work.

Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of RSF and President of the Forum on Information and Democracy, said, "the United States joining the Partnership on Information and Democracy is a significant step forward that will strengthen this multilateral effort, and it is crucial that the United States continue to make a major contribution to establishing democratic principles for the public sphere.

The United States joins an initiative based on an innovative dialectic between states and civil society, embodied at the top by leading figures such as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, Shoshana Zuboff, author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Nighat Dad, Vice President of the Forum, and Damian Tambini, Distinguished Fellow at the London School of Economics.

The Forum on Information and Democracy, the implementing body of the Partnership created by RSF and 10 civil society and research organizations, has provided concrete deliverables: 

  • The publication of the plan to create the Observatory on Information and Democracy, which will publish periodic assessments of the information and communication space. The Observatory was presented at the Summit by Shoshana Zuboff, co-chair of the prefiguration working group.
  • The publication of a series of recommendations for establishing accountability regimes for social networks and their users, presented at the Summit by Damian Tambini.
  • The launch of a working group on pluralism in curation and indexing algorithms, chaired by Professor Pier Luigi Parcu, Director of the Centre for Media Pluralism and Freedom at the European University Institute.
  • The support of eleven states of the Partnership for the Journalism Trust Initiative and independent and transparent certification initiative to foster and promote ethical and independent media.

During the Summit, states based their discussions on the recommendations produced by the Forum's first two working groups, How to End Infodemics and A New Deal for Journalism.

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