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Bali Forum Media Workshop: Declaration on Media Accountability in Practice

The participants of the workshop on media accountability organised by the International Federation of Journalists, the Indonesian Press Council and the Institute of Peace and Democracy, meeting on December 8-9th 2009 in Bali, agree the following conclusions and statement for submission to the Bali Democracy Forum II:

We the representatives of journalists’ groups, press councils and media support bodies from 20 countries call on the Bali Democracy Forum to consider the following:

That building democracy and creating the conditions for social and economic development requires the rule of law, a community of citizens that is fully informed, and systems of governance that enjoy public trust,

That democracy also requires the elimination of all forms of discrimination in society and, in particular, the marginalizing of groups on the basis of social or economic status,

That free media and independent journalism, exercised in safe conditions and free of intimidation, are an instrument for the elimination of famine, corruption, inequality and for the protection and respect of the democratic rights of all people in society,

That creating an environment to ensure free media and independent journalism, without any form of legal or political pressure, must be a priority for all governments committed to democracy,

That government should support, in particular, co-operation between civil society and media professionals in the creation of transparent, professional and independent forms of media accountability to:
1. advocate and campaign for press freedom and good governance in media,

2. contribute to education within society on the role of free media in democracy,

3. mediate problems that arise between media and their audience,

4. promote access to public information and to information technology that will ensure the full participation of citizens in democratic society.

The role of government must be solely to support this activity and to promote self-rule in media.
Government must avoid imposing forms of regulation that may curb independence of journalism.
Government must protect and nourish the rights of media and the information rights of citizens and journalists, including free expression and freedom of association.
Finally, we thank the Governments of Indonesia and Norway for their support of this workshop which is a ground-breaking initiative and we call on all members of the Bali Democracy Forum to support similar actions at national level to encourage a new debate within society on the role of media in building democracy and raising awareness of the importance of democratic development.

December 10th 2009