SEECOM’s founding values are enshrined in the Budva Declaration, Europe’s first transnational declaration of core professional and ethical principles of government communication, adopted by a group of senior government communication officials at the First South East Europe Government Communication Conference in Budva, Montenegro, in September 2012.
OF FOUNDING VALUES OF THE SOUTH EASTERN EUROPEAN GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATIONS FORUM
(“The Budva Declaration”)
Affirming our commitment to democratic and European values, regional cooperation, and good neighbourly relations based on the principles of, inter alia, the UN Charter and other applicable international agreements;
Convinced of the importance of promoting networking, dialogue and peer support for professional development of government communicators and advancement of government communication profession in general;
Aware of the need to pursue the highest and most contemporary standards of our profession;
Having regard to the increasingly important role of the public in government policy making;
Recognising the need to foster two-way communication between governments and citizens;
Emphasising the importance of government transparency, free access to information, greater public participation in policy making, and the use of modern technology and communication tools to achieve them;
Acknowledging the duty of government communicators to provide the public with comprehensive, timely and accurate information about government policies and projects;
We the government communication professionals of the countries of South Eastern Europe, by adopting this Declaration, express our private and professional endorsement of and commitment to the following principles as the founding values of the South Eastern European Government Communication Forum.
Transparency and Openness.
Government communication should provide easy access to comprehensive, truthful and timely information on government activities and should attempt to keep government open, accessible, and understandable to the publics.
Government communication should promote government openness by facilitating access to information on government activities through all available means of communication and by taking full advantage of the technological progress in so doing.
Inclusiveness and Participation.
Government communication should encourage citizen participation in policy making, attract public interest in government work, and enable direct communication between government and citizens.
Government communication should promote open governance and open public administration and institutions.
An important role of government communicators is to provide channels for the public to influence policy making processes.
Government communication should engage citizens actively in the work of their government, and act towards ensuring citizens’ satisfaction with their involvement by providing, among other things: feedback on the outcomes of citizens’ participation, promotion of results achieved through collaboration, and advocacy for continued cooperation between government and citizens.
Integrity, impartiality and public interest.
Government communication should be performed in a way that preserves the integrity and impartiality of public institutions and serves the public interest.
Government communicators should always act in a way that sustains the public’s long-term trust and confidence in government information and communication.
In order to be able to perform their duties, government communicators should seek to enhance the level of internal communication between government departments.
Internal communication should serve to enhance timely exchange of information between departments, which should in turn result in more effective communication with the public, and in other ways ensure the above principles of Transparency and Openness and Inclusiveness and Participation.
Professional exchange and cooperation.
Considering that good government communication practices are inextricably associated with good governance, government communicators should aim to maintain regular and close interaction with their peers from the region and the world by exchanging best communication practices.
The rising interconnectedness and shared interests should guide communication professionals towards seeking and offering assistance, providing best services, and joining forces in solving issues.
Government communicators should rely on innovations and technological advancements to promote and enhance communication between people and government.
This Declaration is a legally non-binding agreement between the government communication professionals from the countries of South Eastern Europe, whereby we vow to ensure commitment to the highest professional standards and values of democratic governance, as contained in the principles of this Declaration, and to convene periodically in this forum to discuss the furthering of these principles and of our cooperation.
The founding South Eastern Europe Government Communication Conference leaves us determined to implement the key principles contained in this Declaration with a view to influencing government policies towards greater transparency and openness, better access to information and greater public participation in policy making, which we hope in turn to advance the level of participatory democracy in the region.
By adopting this Declaration, we endorse the above as the founding values of the Forum.
In Budva, Montenegro
16 September 2012