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Address to Reporters Without Borders

Speech on press freedom, information and democracy at Paris Peace Forum 11. november 2018. Held by Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

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We are gathered here in Paris to commemorate the end of the First World War, 100 years ago today.

Today, we reflect on the devastation and tremendous losses of the war. We rally behind calls from all continents for international peace and security, for human rights and for sustainable development.

These objectives are interrelated. They all require close international cooperation and the rule of law.

They cannot be taken for granted. They are increasingly under threat.

In this context, a global communication and information space built on the freedom of expression is essential.

It provides not only the basis of democracy and human rights, but also of sustainable development. Ultimately, it also promotes peace and security.

Without freedom of expression and a real communication and information space, rule of law is at risk. Carefully built institutions could be undermined.

Because any society needs correctives.

Free and independent journalists have a key role to play in safeguarding democracy and freedom.

They give us vital information.

They act as watchdogs, and help to ensure transparency and accountability in public affairs.

It is unacceptable that so many journalists worldwide face threats, harassment and attacks, simply for doing their job.   

They deserve our wholehearted support.

This is why we warmly welcome the initiative of Reporters Without Borders.

This is why we support the ideas proposed by its’ independent panel of experts. Their voices are worth listening to.

So how should we proceed?

By ensuring continued political action and strengthened compliance with the rule of law.

Norway is proud to on top of the Press Freedom Ranking in 2018 - the list made by Reporters Without Borders.

At the same time, we are the first to admit that more work remain.

Protecting freedom of expression and independent media is an important, long-term priority for Norway.

But we must also work together.

We have a joint responsibility. We can and should make a difference. We must all take action.

We must strengthen the human rights pillar in the UN. This should include effective capacity-building and technical support to member states.

This will have a direct impact on countries’ ability to observe and respect human rights.

We have to join forces in this struggle. Across governments, international organisations, academia and civil society.

Today’s event is an important step in this direction.

Thank you.

 

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