Freedom of expression, media pluralism, cultural diversity and gender equality perspectives are central to the future of knowledge societies, according to a UNESCO meeting in Paris reviewing progress since the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) ten years ago.
WSIS – which met in two sessions in Geneva (2003) and Tunis (2005) – aimed to promote access to information and knowledge through new communications technologies and to tackle the digital divide separating the northern hemisphere from the global South.
The 25-27 February UNESCO WSIS +10 review meeting brought together more than 800 participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs, intergovernmental organisations and other groups. Its recommendations will feed into further United Nations deliberations on WSIS and into follow-up plans for the Millennium Development Goals.
WACC was active at the original WSIS meetings as part of the Communication Rights in the Information Society Campaign (CRIS).
At the UNESCO meeting, WACC was represented through its partner Globethics.net, a Geneva-based network promoting global dialogue on ethics.
Issues highlighted in a final statement, headed “Information and Knowledge for All,” included the need to:
It said that knowledge societies “should seek to ensure full respect for cultural diversity, and that everyone has the right to express themselves, to create and disseminate their work in the language of their choice.”
WACC Director Dr Stephen Brown, who works with Globethics.net and attended the UNESCO meeting in Paris, said: “The UNESCO meeting offered a platform to underline key principles for the information society. Within the WSIS +10 review process, it is important that WACC and its members continue to advocate full access to information and communication, open and diverse media, and communication as a basic human right.”
Further information about the UNESCO WSIS +10 event is here.
Final statement is available here.