Concern over NWIO Revival p.13

By: Robert U. Brown MEMBERS OF THE International Press Institute, gathered for their 46th general assembly in Granada, Spain, last month, expressed grave concern about calls by ministers of information of non-aligned countries to resurrect the concept of a "new world information and communication order" at the United Nations, UNESCO and elsewhere.
IPI also said it is "concerned over new attempts at the United Nations to establish the ideas behind this new world order without using that label."
The press of the Western world fought for many years against efforts of Third World governments to establish a New World Information Order, under the aegis of UNESCO, which in effect would establish controls on the press worldwide.
The IPI resolution on this matter said:
"IPI is fully aware of the disparities that exist in communication technologies between developed and 'developing' nations and wholeheartedly agrees that these imbalances should be addressed. However, we believe that attempts to achieve an all-encompassing 'order' are neither possible nor desirable.
"The danger of any attempt to control and regulate the media ? no matter how well-intentioned ? is that it can result in such unacceptable practices as censorship, the legitimizing of restrictions to the free flow of information, the licensing of journalists and restrictions of access to the calling of journalism, and the assigning of roles and duties to the media."
Other resolutions condemned constraints on the press in Zambia and Turkey and the assassination of journalists in Colombia.
IPI also took a stand against "insult laws" that give special protection to national leaders and institutions and called for their abolition around the world because they "clearly violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
Another IPI resolution "strongly urged China when taking over Hong Kong not to make laws that diminish the rights of all to seek, receive and impart information."
It said the free flow of information is crucial to Hong Kong's unique position. "Not only should press freedom be preserved in Hong Kong, it should be extended to China itself. If China is to become a fully fledged member of the international community, it should respect the fundamental freedoms of free speech and free press," IPI said.
Members of the Institute expressed concern also about the trend toward controlling and regulating the Internet and other new communications media. It said the principles embodied in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights should apply to the Internet, as it does to print media.
?(Eugene Roberts, managing editor of the New York Times, was elected chairman of the International Press Institute at its recent meeting in Granada, Sapin. On the trip, his wife Susan fell on slippery pavement and broke her wrist, requiring surgery at a Granada hospital.) [Photo & Caption]
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copyright Editor & Publisher; April 12, 1997


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