Christian Group: Attend UN Meetings Shaping Future of Communications Rights

(Photo Credit: Kelvin_Kevin Gan/Flickr)Phone Call file photo.

A Christian group promoting communication as a basic human right wants the voices of civil society groups to be heard at a series of meetings in the next few years involving United Nations bodies that will shape how progress is assessed in 2015 on expanding communications rights for people around the world.

The World Association for Christian Communication said Friday  that registration for a key review meeting in Paris was now open. The WSIS 10 Review Event is taking place from February 25-27. It is being organized by UNESCO, in cooperation with ITU, UNCTAD and UNDP.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) meetings in 2003 and 2005 established targets for deployment of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to run alongside other internationally agreed development goals.

The 2013 meeting, which UNESCO calls the first "multi-stakeholder review event," will look at certain achievements so far and recommend input to the post-2015 process.

The 2015 WSIS outcomes implementation will be reviewed by the UN General Assembly. An action plan is being drawn up defining the preparatory process for the 2015 review.

UNESCO says the Paris event will produce a series of recommendations, which will serve as a foundation for a forward-looking document.

Groups Evaluating Progress

The WACC says it is supporting the Association for Progressive Communications (ACP) in conducting a collective evaluation of the status of communication rights.

"The project 'The status of critical communication rights ten years after WSIS: Documenting civil society perceptions to influence policy agendas' will assess the progress and/orlackthereof in relation to communication rights activists' visions and demands, particularly regarding developing countries and marginalized communities," the WACC said.

The WACC says many civil society organizations (CSOs) are focusing on specific areas but little work has been done on the state of the broader and inclusive communication rights agenda advocated by the CSOs that emerged during the WSIS.

The WSIS says on its website the summits provided a forum for international organizations, governments, the private sector and civil society groups to discuss the opportunities of the information and communications environment, and also address challenges such as inequality in access to information and communication that is called the 'digital divide.'

Priorities discussed at the meetings included the need for investment infrastructure, the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in development, the relationship between these ICTs, human rights and culture, and the new challenges posed by ICTs and the Internet for international governance.

The meeting established targets for ICT deployment to run alongside other internationally agreed development goals, and a frame of reference for continued work by international agencies and governments. 

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