A Return to UNESCO? p.

By: Debra Gersh Resolution introduced in Congress calling for the Clinton administration to return the United States to active membership
NOW THAT THE United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has gotten its house in order, a group of congressmen have called upon the United States to once again be a member.
Toward that end, a resolution has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives calling for the Clinton administration to return the country to full and active membership in UNESCO before 1993 is over.
The United States withdrew from membership in UNESCO, citing a myriad of questions about management and policy, including UNESCO's position on freedom of the press.
Since then, however, the organization has gone through changes not only in its policy structure, but also in its leadership, specifically the 1987 election of Federico Mayor as director-general.
Citing those changes, Rep. Esteban E. Torres (D-Calif.), a former ambassador and U.S. permanent representative to UNESCO under President Carter, introduced the resolution that calls for re-entry in UNESCO before the end of 1993.
According to the resolution, "UNESCO has elected new leadership, instituted tightened financial controls and strategic planning, cut staff and budget, renewed professionalism, restored recognition of intellectual property, returned the organization to the principle of an unfettered, independent international press, therefore addressing and redressing the criticisms which formed the justification for the United States' withdrawal."
Rep. Torres' resolution also states that UNESCO "has placed high priority on the promotion of democracy, free flow of information, training and expertise" and "has put a high priority on programs to strengthen a free press and journalistic independence."
In addition, the resolution points to a 1993 report from the General Accounting Office which confirms a demonstrated "commitment to management reform," and it notes that rejoining UNESCO would advance U.S. foreign and domestic policy.
Domestic advantages include reducing illiteracy and improving education, increasing tolerance among ethnic and racial minority groups, protecting cultural freedom and the free flow of information, and widening access to communications technology markets in developing countries by American businesses.
Co-sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution 103 include Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.), Rep. George E. Brown Jr. (D-Calif.), Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.).
Late last year, UNESCO director-general Mayor promised to lay to rest misunderstandings surrounding the controversial New World Information Order and urged the U.S. to rejoin his organization (E&P, Dec. 19, 1992, P.13).
The New World Information Order, which placed restrictions on freedom of information, was a particular point of contention.
Speaking at the annual World Press Freedom Committee's Harold W. Andersen Lecture, Mayor stated, "UNESCO is fully committed to the advance of press and media freedom. This means leaving codes of journalistic ethics and similar issues in new and emerging democratic systems strictly within the purview of the press and media professionals themselves."


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