Communication is a common good say participants at Rio+ 20
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Communication is a common good say participants at Rio+ 20

{wacc location=”Toronto, Canada”}{teaser}Communicators meeting in Rio declare communication a good that belongs to all.{/teaser}

Civil society organizations (CSOs) and social movements attending Rio+20, the UN summit on sustainable development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20-22 June 2012, have called for greater attention to be given to communication rights and freedom of expression.

Among the CSOs was the World Forum of Free Media (WFFM) which organised a preparatory meeting on 16-17 June. The meeting brought together activists and popular communicators, bloggers, journalists, edu-communicators, independent video makers, and advocates of free technologies, all of them part of a growing movement in favour of communication rights. The WFFM issued a call to prepare a Statement of Principles of the Free Media movement. 

Defined as those “committed to the fight for free knowledge and for alternatives to communication models monopolized or controlled by economic power, free media are those that serve communities, social struggles, culture and diversity … They understand communication as a human right.”

The text approved at the end of the two-day meeting calls for a “shared understanding of communication as a common right and common good, belonging to all people” and proposes that “social movements should struggle for new regulatory frameworks that guarantee freedom of expression for everybody and the ‘universalisation’ of public, quality broadband.”

The Statement asks members to considering organising an international campaign for communication rights and freedom of expression for all. In this context, groups in Brazil are intending to launch the campaign “Regulate Dilma” in August 2012 to persuade the country’s president, Ms Dilma Rousseff, to commit to a new communication regulatory framework.

Such a call fits very well into the preparatory for WSIS+10 in 2015 which will review the Implementation of the Outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Mandated by the UN General Assembly, the WSIS was organised in two phases. The first phase took place in Geneva from 10-12 December 2003 and the second in Tunis, 16-18 November 2005.

The objective of the first phase was to develop and foster a clear statement of political will and take concrete steps to establish the foundations for an Information Society reflecting all the different interests at stake. This is what became known as The Geneva Declaration and Plan of Action.

The objective of the second phase was to put the Geneva Plan of Action into motion as well as to find solutions and reach agreements in the fields of Internet governance, financing mechanisms, and follow-up to and implementation of the Geneva and Tunis documents. At the close of the 2005 WSIS meeting in Tunis, civil society organisations issued a statement that said while the groups “value the process and the outcomes, we are convinced much more could have been achieved.”

With its commitment to communication rights and its vision of communication for all, WACC considers that the WSIS+10 represents a “second chance” for civil society organisations and those committed to communication rights to work in collaboration to pursue a common agenda to make communication rights a reality. With commitment from all sectors and a will to work together, this time around much more will be achieved at WSIS+10.

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