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The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space

Strengthening Alignment with International Standards and Guidance

image of The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space

The past decade has seen increasing international recognition of civic space as a cornerstone of functioning democracies, alongside efforts to promote and protect it. Countries that foster civic space are better placed to reap the many benefits of higher levels of citizen engagement, strengthened transparency and accountability, and empowered citizens and civil society. In the longer term, a vibrant civic space can help to improve government effectiveness and responsiveness, contribute to more citizen-centred policies, and boost social cohesion. This first OECD comparative report on civic space offers a baseline of data from 33 OECD Members and 19 non-Members and a nuanced overview of the different dimensions of civic space, with a focus on civic freedoms, media freedoms, civic space in the digital age, and the enabling environment for civil society. It provides an exhaustive review of legal frameworks, policies, strategies, and institutional arrangements, in addition to implementation gaps, trends and good practices. The analysis is complemented by a review of international standards and guidance, in addition to data and analysis from civil society and other stakeholders.

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Protecting and promoting the right to access information as a core component of civic space

This chapter provides an overview of the fundamental right to access information as a key element of civic space and open government. It first outlines the role of access to information as a right, its intersection with other civic freedoms, and how the right is protected and promoted through international treaties and conventions. The chapter then focuses on the legal framework for access to information (ATI), including constitutional recognition and ATI laws, and how their various provisions can be more effectively implemented to foster civic space. Finally, it outlines trends, challenges and opportunities for strengthening the right to access information.

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