Freedom of the press and free, uncensored access to the internet are essential to good governance.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC, is a bilateral United States foreign aid agency that works by partnering with eligible countries to enable them to implement their homegrown projects. The MCC bases its decisions regarding country eligibility for a development compact, by evaluating a series of indicators of good governance, investing in people and responsible fiscal policy along with a strong stance against corruption.
The MCC places a very high value on the free flow of information, because it is crucial to good governance. Freedom of the press and free, uncensored access to the internet are essential to good governance. So are freedom of information laws, which allow citizens access to data held by the state, and which thus help guarantee transparency of government activity.
Access to information helps educate citizens, provides information to consumers and gives them an outlet through which they can voice opinions and ideas. Simply allowing citizens free access to information can help better their daily lives in a myriad ways, from improving their health by accessing information on good practices, current health threats and how to avoid them; increasing agricultural yield by helping to improve farming and irrigation practices; enabling manufacturers to find new markets for their products; or even helping to find ways to lower electricity or water consumption.
Freedom of information can also play a critical role in poverty reduction. Transparency and access to information lead to increased investment because they allow investors to check the history, practices and operations of institutions in a given economy, thus allowing investors to decide how best to initiate and manage investment.
Access to information also strengthens democratic accountability, promotes political participation, reduces corruption and governmental abuses, and leads to more effective allocation of national resources. Armed with reliable and sufficient information, citizens are more likely to support their government in times of trouble, or conversely, affect needed change.
A U.S. Judge once said that “democracies die behind closed doors. ... A free press protects the people's right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully, and accurately." And a country that protects the free flow of information is a worthy partner for the United States.