Media freedom and access to information feed into the wider development objective of empowering people. Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social and political process that helps people gain control over their own lives. This can only be achieved through access to accurate, fair and unbiased information, representing a plurality of opinions, and the means to actively communicate vertically and horizontally, thereby participating in the active life of the community.
However, in order to make freedom of expression a reality, there must be:
- a legal and regulatory environment that allows for an open and pluralistic media sector to emerge;
- a political will to support the sector and rule of law to protect it;
- laws ensuring access to information, especially information in the public domain; and
- the necessary media literacy skills among news consumers to critically analyze and synthesize the information they receive to use it in their daily lives and to hold the media accountable for its actions.