Development Banks Must Show Transparency, Accountability For Pandemic Funding, Uphold Rights Of Journalists, Opinion Piece Urges

Devex: Opinion: No space for dissent — how development banks are supporting governments that silence journalists
Lorena Cotza, communications lead at the Coalition for Human Rights in Development

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, multilateral development banks have committed nearly $100 billion for hundreds of coronavirus-related projects. But are these funds really benefiting those in need? And what’s happening to those who are raising questions around transparency and accountability for these funds? … Journalists, bloggers, medical workers, human rights defenders, and all those raising concerns about inadequate responses to the crisis — including emergency support directly funded by development banks — are facing threats, arrests, attacks, and stigmatization. … While development banks’ rapid and large-scale financial response to the pandemic is justified, the need to act quickly has overshadowed the equally important needs for transparency, accountability, and respect for human rights. … Development banks often argue that they do not have a political mandate. But protecting journalists is not about partisan politics. It is about standing up for press freedom and the right to access information. It is about ensuring an enabling environment for civil society. It is about making sure that bank funds are well spent and that they reach the whole population and the most marginalized groups, rather than just a corrupt, powerful elite. … Development banks, now more than ever, should take a stand to protect those who are speaking truth to power and who have the courage to demand accountability” (10/28).

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