Unesco, Records of the General Conference, 21st Session Belgrade, 1980

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Section 4/19 - International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems

Part I

1. Expresses its thanks to the Director-General for having put at the disposal of the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems the means necessary for its work;

2. Addresses its appreciation and thanks to the Chairman, Mr Sean MacBride, and to the members of the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems, and congratulates them on the quality of the work carried out, the breadth of vision they have shown and the praiseworthy efforts they have made to fulfil their mandate in the allotted time;

Part II

3. Considers the publication of the Report of the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems as a valuable contribution to the study of information and communication problems;

4. Recognizes that that Report has succeeded in identifying a large number of the most significant information and communication problems, examining certain questions posed in this field at different levels and pointing to a number of directions in which action with a view to settling those questions in the short, medium and long term might be taken;

5. Emphasizes that the debate to which the Report has given rise up to now shows that the international community is becoming aware of the universality of the problems of information and communication, of the growing interdependence of countries and of the community of interests in this field;

6. Hopes that this debate will continue and become more searching, drawing in all those to whom the Report’s recommendations were addressed, including ‘governments and international organizations, policy-makers and planners, the media and professional organizations, researchers, communication practitioners, organized social groups and the public at large’, bearing in mind that communication takes diverse forms and involves large sectors of all societies;

7. Welcomes the steps taken by the Director-General to ensure the widest possible distribution of the Final Report of the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems;

8. Approves the comments of the Director-General concerning the Final Report of the Commission, notably those in which he affirms that ‘it should be possible to give effect to some’ of its recommendations ‘in the immediate future, whereas others call for resources or studies which would take varying lengths of time to provide’;

9. Considers that the Report and its recommendations also constitute valuable encouragement for the continuing examination, analysis and study of information and communication problems within the Secretariat, and in Member States and professional associations;

Part III

10. Invites Member States:

(a) to circulate the Report widely and to study the conclusions and recommendations approved by the Commission, which merit the attention of all Member States;

(b) to study the Final Report in detail, particularly the recommendations it contains, and to communicate their comments and observations on those recommendations to the DirectorGeneral of Unesco in time for him to be able to make use of them in the preparation of the second Medium-Term Plan (1984-1989);

c) to take the Commission’s recommendations into consideration in the preparation and strengthening of their national communication capabilities, without losing sight of the fact that differing social, cultural and economic circumstances call for a variety of approaches to the definition and implementation of national policies and systems and to the identification and overcoming of the obstacles to development in the field of information and communication;

(d) to bear in mind also the fundamental need to safeguard freedom of opinion, expression and information; to ensure that the peoples are given the widest and most democratic access possible to the functioning of the mass media; and to make communication an integral part of all development strategy;

(e) to further the development of communication infrastructures, paying special attention to the establishment of fairer telecommunication, postal and other tariffs, and to define in liaison with the International Telecommunication Union and other competent organizations of the United Nations system the conditions necessary for a more equitable utilization of limited natural resources such as the electromagnetic spectrum and geostationary orbits;

Part IV

11. Invites interested international and regional intergovernmental, non-governmental and professional organizations:

(a) to take note of the recommendations approved by the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems and to convey their comments and observations to the DirectorGeneral;

(b) particularly if they belong to the United Nations system, to expand their co-operation so as to contribute to the solution of the most pressing information and communication problems;

Part V

12. Reaffirms that Unesco, which has been particularly active in the field of information and communication within the United Nations system, plays a major role in the examination and solution of problems in this domain;

13. Invites the Director-General to take the necessary measures to follow up the suggestions presented in his report on the findings of the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems, and in particular:

(a) to continue to promote dissemination of the Commission’s Report, within the limits of the regular programme and budget, by providing assistance for this purpose to countries which request it;

(b) to communicate the Commission’s Final Report and recommendations to the international and regional intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations concerned in order that they may examine measures that they might be able to carry out;

(c) to take into consideration to the greatest possible extent, in implementing the Programme for 1981-1983, those recommendations of the Commission that lend themselves to rapid application;

(d) to provide in forthcoming programmes for the continuation of studies on those problems of communication about which data are still incomplete, which did not receive sufficient attention from the Commission, or which deserve attention as a possible basis for procedures for implementing national, regional and international action;

(e) to examine how Unesco could help professional journalists to acquire a better knowledge of the cultures and the economic, political and social realities of different Member States, for instance by holding seminars for journalists on the cultures, societies and history of these countries;

(f) to examine the possibility of giving the programme sector concerned a place and a position in keeping with the growing importance which Member States appear to be attaching to it;

(g) to take into account as far as possible in the preparation of the next Medium-Term Plan the comments and observations made by Member States and international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations on the conclusions and recommendations of the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems and any other suggestions received from other organizations professionally concerned with communication problems;

(h) to undertake or sponsor, in particular, the studies and analyses necessary for the formulation of specific and practical proposals for the establishment of a new world information and communication order, and to convene an international meeting of experts for that purpose;


Part VI

14. Considers that: 

(a) this new world information and communication order could be based, among other considerations, on:

(i) elimination of the imbalances and inequalities which characterize the present situation;

(ii) elimination of the negative effects of certain monopolies, public or private, and excessive concentrations;

(iii) removal of the internal and external obstacles to a free flow and wider and better balanced dissemination of information and ideas;

(iv) plurality of sources and channels of information;

(v) freedom of the press and information;

(vi) the freedom of journalists and all professionals in the communication media, a freedom inseparable from responsibility;

(vii) the capacity of developing countries to achieve improvement of their own situations, notably by providing their own equipment, by training their personnel, by improving their infrastructures and by making their information and communication media suitable to their needs and aspirations;

(viii) the sincere will of developed countries to help them attain these objectives;

(ix) respect for each people’s cultural identity and for the right of each nation to inform the world public about its interests, its aspirations and its social and cultural values;

(x) respect for the right of all peoples to participate in international exchanges of information on the basis of equality, justice and mutual benefit;

(xi) respect for the right of the public, of ethnic and social groups and of individuals to have access to information sources and to participate actively in the communication process;

(b) this new world information and communication order should be based on the fundamental principles of international law, as laid down in the Charter of the United Nations;

(c) diverse solutions to information and communication problems are required because social, political, cultural and economic problems differ from one country to another and, within a given country, from one group to another;

15. Expresses the wish that Unesco demonstrate its willingness in its short-term and medium-term activities to contribute to the clarification, elaboration and application of the concept of a new world information and communication order.



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