Applying human rights principles

Human rights principles should also be applied to policy development in this area, and are particularly useful where there is an absence of specific research evidence. These principles include:

  • Universality: Human rights must be afforded to everyone, without exception.

  • Indivisibility: Human rights are indivisible and interdependent, which means in order to guarantee civil and political rights, governments must also ensure economic, social and cultural rights (and vice versa).

  • Participation: People have a right to participate in how decisions are made regarding protection of their rights. Governments must engage and support the participation of civil society on these issues.

  • Accountability: Governments must create mechanisms of accountability for the enforcement of rights. There must be effective measures put in place for accountability if those standards are not met.

  • Transparency: Transparency means governments must be open about all information and decision-making processes related to rights. People must be able to understand how major decisions affecting their rights are made and how public institutions responsible for implementing rights are managed.

  • Non-Discrimination: Human rights must be guaranteed without discrimination of any kind. This includes not only purposeful discrimination, but also protection from policies and practices which may have a discriminatory effect.

Each of these principles should be applied in the development of a multi-stakeholder response to the threats to democracy posed by digital media.