Freedom of expression and media development contribute to free flow of information in a society which guarantees and promotes opportunities for the better choice making of the population. This free flow of information is vital to strengthen the rule of law and good governance in that access to information empowers the population which leads to demand what is happening with poverty, with social equality, with climate change, with jobs and more, especially in this modern era through the availability of digital connectivity. In this sense freedom of expression and media development is a cornerstone of justice, and as so, of human dignity.
Freedom of expression and media development are one of the Sustainable Development Goals as cited in Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institution. They build the capacity and ability to seek, receive and impart information to the people to make better choices of their lives. Furthermore, with this built capacity people demand well-researched and conflict-sensitive narratives from media which generates a virtuous circle of development to reinforce democracy, social inclusion, justice and the rule of law. For example, when I worked in UNESCO office in Mexico, the team implemented radio media, which considered the cheapest to spread across the region of extreme poverty, and through the radio media, dialogues of women empowerment were delivered and discussed. Before this flow of information, the women who had been suffering from gender violence didn’t know their right to call justice. They even shared their own personal stories that later became the inspiration for others, especially for the younger generation.
Freedom of expression and media development not only contributes to the Goal 16 of 2030 Agenda but beyond contributes to peace and the better state of the world. Averroes, an ancient intellect, wrote: “L’ignorance mène à la peur, la peur mène à la haine, et la haine condui à la violence. Voila, l’équation“. The free exchange of ideas and knowledge is essential to eradicate the ignorance, as so to reduce the violence. Everyone has the right to hold opinions, the right to know and to participate in political, social and economic activities. In such sense, I’m strongly convinced that freedom of expression and media development are fundamental aspects to build peace in the minds of men and women.