Bali Road Map: The Roles Of The Media In Realizing The Future We Want For All

The three-day “Global Media Forum: (GMF) The Role of Media in Realizing the Future We Want For All” during 25-28 of August, 2014 in Bali, Indonesia, culminated with the release of the “Bali Road Map,” a call to action for the inclusion of media on the global development agenda.


Recalling the many conventions, declarations and statements which guarantee and affirm the human right to freedom of expression;

Affirming that this right includes the right to press freedom and the right to seek, receive and impart information;

Recognising that peace and sustainable development increasingly depends on the participation of informed people which requires a free flow of information and knowledge, and that this in turn depends on freedom of expression on all media platforms;

Affirming the potential role of the media in underpinning how a country shapes development, shares ideas and innovations, and holds powerful actors to account, but stressing that this can only be realized where the media is free, pluralistic and independent and where there is safety for actors producing journalism;

Cognisant of the importance of civil society and the public as key stakeholders in both media and sustainable development, and of the need to ensure their involvement in media and development processes;

Believing that capable and engaged media actors can provide a robust forum for public debate, as well as foster the participation of marginalised people and those living in poverty who lack equitable access to communications;

Acknowledging that the ability of media actors to fulfil their potentials in development also depends on public access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), information and knowledge;

Noting that the world has a new opportunity to articulate clear goals and targets in the form of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals;

Emphasising the importance of including a goal on freedom of expression and independent media in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, and of including this recognition in development practice more broadly


The Global Media Forum (Bali, 25-28 August 2014) adopts this Road Map to realize the potentials of the media to contribute to sustainable development, and to promote the inclusion of a goal acknowledging the importance of freedom of expression and independent media in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

We propose the following actions for the consideration by key stakeholder groups:


- to respect freedom of expression, including press freedom and the right to seek and receive information, as fundamental rights as well as enablers of the post-2015 development agenda goals;

- to review legal restrictions including criminal defamation laws and other restrictions on media content or structures, in order to promote the free flow of information;

- to reconsider cases of imprisoned journalists in the light of international standards and human rights;

- to avoid the use of state economic levers to undermine media freedom, independence and diversity;

- to work towards universal access to the Internet and other ICTs as a means of realising the universality of freedom of expression, and in a manner that ensures equal access and participation for men and women;

- to promote diversity in the media, including by creating a positive economic environment with appropriate incentives, fostering equal access for women and men in media ownership and decision-making, and supporting the coverage of gender equality issues as an integral part of development;

- to combat historical discrimination, prejudices and/or biases which prevent the equal enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression by certain individuals and groups;

- to systematically collect and make accessible to the public, including by digital means, information which is related to development issues, while protecting privacy;

- to promote programs for media and information literacy competencies among all citizens, not least children and youth, so they are equipped to find, evaluate and use information, and create and express their own information and opinion, including that pertaining to development debates;

- to make concerted efforts to ensure that those involved in the production of journalism can work without fear or risk of attack, and to promote and implement the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity;

- to create a legal environment in which public, commercial and community broadcasters are empowered to serve the information and communication needs of different individuals and groups in society;

- to enable publicly-owned media to be editorially independent, be protected against political interference and be adequately funded in order to provide quality content in the public interest,

- to support the provision of quality training and education for journalists and media professionals, including about the development debate;

- to put in place systems to promote greater transparency of media ownership;

- to promote the inclusion of a goal recognising the importance of freedom of expression and of independent media in the UN’s post-2015 Development Agenda.

Media outlets, media professionals and social media users

- to promote respect for the highest professional and ethical standards in journalism;

- to provide society with development-relevant information;

- to raise awareness about, and actively participate in, debates about developmental issues including the relationship between free expression and development, and to provide opportunities for the public to participate in these discussions;

- to reflect a diversity of views so as to satisfy the public’s right to a broad range of information and ideas;

- to promote gender-sensitive policies and strategies to foster the participation of women and marginalised groups in all levels of media, including as news sources;

- to take concrete and effective steps to eliminate harmful gender and other stereotypes, prejudices and practices, including traditional or customary values or practices, which undermine the ability of individuals to enjoy the right to freedom of expression;

- to strive for appropriate time and resources to be allocated for investigative reporting, with a view to ensuring that such journalism can play its part in holding powerful actors, both public and private, to account;

- to empower producers of journalism through training and support for professionalism;

- to support the safety of journalists, engage with the UN Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, and enhance cooperation with other actors.

UNESCO and the international community

- to endorse the inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals of freedom of expression, including press freedom and the right to seek and receive information, given that these are not only essential rights but also enablers in the Sustainable Development Goals and the wider development agenda,

- to promote greater understanding about the importance of freedom of expression and a free, independent and pluralistic media, including their value as underpinnings for sustainable development, good governance and the rule of law;

- to advocate for media institutions across the range of public, private, community and social sectors as a foundation for free, pluralistic and independent media to play their full role in sustainable development;

- to continue to advocate for gender equality in and through the media by developing programmes and resources through the Global Alliance on Media and Gender and to ensure systematic follow up to the media and gender critical area of concern of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action;

- to continue work to support journalistic professionalism as well as media and information literacy, including the Global Alliance for Partnerships in Media and Information Literacy;

- to promote and monitor the safety of journalists and the fight against impunity, and to expand implementation of the UN Plan of Action

- to prepare for the first commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists on 2 November 2014, following the declaration of this day by the UN General Assembly in 2013;

- to ensure that aid programmes take into account the importance of freedom of expression issues in all development efforts, and that they promote press freedom, the right to seek and receive information, and the safety of journalists;

- to follow up on the Bali Road Map for Media and Development, and make the document available to Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Open Working Group, and to other international and regional organisations.

Bali, 25-28 August 2014.