Leaders of the powerful G7 grouping and its five partner countries, including India, have said that they are committed to open public debate and the free flow of information online and offline while guarding the freedom, and independence and diversity of civil society actors. In a joint statement titled ‘2022 Resilient Democracies Statement’ issued during the G7 Summit, the leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said they are prepared to defend these principles and are resolved to protect the freedom of expression. The joint statement came amidst allegations that the Indian government was stifling the freedom of speech and the civil society actors.
The leaders said democracies enable open public debate, independent and pluralistic media and the free flow of information online and offline, fostering legitimacy, transparency, responsibility and accountability for citizens and elected representatives alike. The leaders said they resolved to protecting the freedom of expression and opinion online and offline and ensuring a free and independent media landscape through our work with relevant international initiatives.
They promised to guard the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors, speak out against threats to civic space, and respect freedom of association and peaceful assembly. The leaders pledged to ensure an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable and secure internet; increase the cyber resilience of digital infrastructure, including by improving and sharing awareness of cyber threats and expanding cyber response cooperation and counter hybrid threats, in particular, information manipulation and interference, including disinformation