Magazine article UN Chronicle

Information Committee Reaches Consensus after Complex Negotiations

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Information Committee Reaches Consensus after Complex Negotiations

Article excerpt

Information Committee reaches consensus after complex negotiations

The 74-member Committee on Information has recomended that the General Asssembly urge all countries, the UN system as a whole and all others concerned to assure journalists free and effective performance of their professional tasks and condemn resolutely all attacks against them.

The Assembly, which would reaffirm its own primary role in elaborating, co-ordinating and harmonizing UN policies and activities in the field of information, would also call upon the UN system to promote a more comprehensive and realistic image of the activities and potential of the system.

These recommendations were among those adopted by consensus by the body on 2 May in tow draft resolutions. The first text was intitled "Information in service of mankind"; the second, "United Nations public information policies and activities". The recommendations will be transmitted to the General Assembly's Speical Political Committee for further review.

Agreement was reached on the texts following complex negotiations which began on 5 April, the day the Committee session began. The consensus was the first achieved since mid-1983 when the Committee had agreed on a set of recommendations for approval by the Assembly.

Committee Chairman Orobola Fasehunof Nigeria referred to "the spirit of good will in contemporary international relations", which had enabled the Committee to overcome the stalemate that had deadlocked it for years. The broad agreement on a new world information and communication order and on freedom of information was a "significant milestone" that should lead to concrete assistance to developing countries, he said.

"We can look forward to the enhancement of the communications infrastructure of developing countries and the development of their media through international co-operation in an environment that promotes freedom of information", he observed. He hoped the consensus would "enable us to increase the funds available to DPI".

Georges Leclere, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Public Information (DPIe, speaking on behalf of Under-Secretary-General Therese Paquet-Sevigny--in Namibia on an official visit--said the consensus marked the end of a turbulent period and the beginning of a new chapter. He called attention to the importance of a common approach to the two concomitant priorities of the international community: promotion of the free flow of information at all levels and in all directions and the strengthening of developing countries' information infrastructures. DPI, he said, would continue to improve and enhance its effectiveness.

In addition to Chairman Fasehun, Committee officers are Peter janus of the Netherlands, Mansoor Suhail of Pakistan and Alexandre N. Boutsko of the Ukrainian SSR, Vice-Chairmen; and Ricardo Lagorio of Argentina, Rapporteur.


Among the recommendations were the follwing:

The General Assembly should urge all countries, the UN system as a whole and "all others concerned" to reaffirm their commitment to Charter principles and to principles of freedom of the press and freedom of information, as well as to those of the "independence, pluralism and diversity of the media";

Deep concern should be expressed at the consequences of disparities between developed and developing countries affecting the capability of the media and individuals in developing countries to disseminate information and communicate their views and their "cultural and ethical values through endogenous cultural production", as well as ensuring the diversity of sources of and their free access to information;

In that context, the call for "a new world information and communication order, seen as an evolving and continuous process", should be recognized. …

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