Journalists Call FTAA Secrecy ‘Threat To Foundations Of Democracy’

The International Federation of Journalists accuses governments of negotiating in secret with scant regard for citizens’ rights. At the same time more than 500 representatives of corporations in the region have had privileged access to FTAA negotiating documents.

The world’s largest journalists’ group, the International Federation of Journalists, has condemned a “sinister process of secrecy” that has excluded civil society groups and citizens from negotiations on a new trade agreement between 34 countries discussed at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec.

The IFJ accuses governments of negotiating in secret with scant regard for citizens’ rights. At the same time more than 500 representatives of corporations in the region have had privileged access to FTAA negotiating documents.

“This is a shameful exercise. The most far-reaching free trade agreement in the world, with a scope that will reach into every area of life for citizens of the Americas, is being discussed behind closed doors,” said Christopher Warren, President of the IFJ, “It threatens the foundations of democracy.”

The IFJ demands that the current FTAA negotiations are revised in favour of an inclusive and democratic process that will promote open government and will respect the concerns of all people. “The debate about international trade should no longer take place within a charmed circle of sheltered political elites, bureaucrats and corporate power brokers”, says the IFJ.

The IFJ, representing unions and associations of journalists in more than 100 countries, says that the FTAA is part of a poisonous web of secrecy that
cloaks international trade discussions. In February the IFJ protested to the World Bank over undue secrecy in its work and the IFJ’s regional group in
Europe, the European Federation of Journalists, has been campaigning for years to end secrecy within the institutions of the European Union.

“The business of international trade and politics is increasingly subject to confidentiality and secret deals in which the public are denied access to vital information,” says the IFJ.

Further Information: Aidan White, General Secretary 0032 2 223 2265

Author: the International Federation of Journalists

News Service: IFJ

URL: http://www.ifj.org/publications/press/pr/203.html