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In the absence of Mr. Swe (Myanmar), Mr. Calderón (Ecuador), Vice-Chairman, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 3.25 p.m.
Agenda item 78: Questions relating to information (continued ) (A/59/21 and A/59/221 and Corr.1)
Agenda item 109: Programme planning (continued ) (A/59/6 (Programme 23: Public information) and A/59/16, chap. II, sect. C, prog. 23)
Action on draft proposals contained in the report of the Committee on Information (A/59/21)
5. Mr. Awad (Egypt) said that his delegation commended DPI for undertaking reforms with a view to confronting current challenges. Having participated in the drafting of the resolutions before the Committee, his delegation believed that information policy should be adapted to reflect the evolving needs of Member States. Such a policy must promote the dissemination of news about the United Nations throughout the world, with emphasis on multilingualism and access in all six official languages, as well as on the promotion of libraries and information centres, so as to strengthen dialogue between cultures and civilizations. With a view to consolidating the peace process, the Department should continue its activities to increase public awareness with regard to peace and stability in the Middle East; it should offer ample, objective messages that would expose the realities on the ground and support the aspirations of Arab peoples living under the yoke of foreign occupation. The financial resources available to the Department were far from sufficient to fund a comprehensive information policy: that problem must be solved. The principles of the Millennium Declaration should be incorporated into the work programme of the Department.
7. Mr. Nur Jazlan Mohamed (Malaysia) ...
9. ...It congratulated the Department on the success of the International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East. DPI should continue to play an important role in informing the public of the tragic suffering of the Palestinian people and was to be commended for providing training programmes to members of the Palestinian communication media.
26. Mr. Al-Zayani (Bahrain) ...
29. DPI deserved support in its work. It should continue to publicize the themes mandated by the General Assembly, particularly the question of Palestine.
46. Mr. Swe (Myanmar), Chairman, took the Chair.
47. Mr. Tharoor (Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information), ...
55. In response to the queries by the representatives of the United Arab Emirates and the Syrian Arab Republic, he said that the Department was fully committed to promoting the rights of the Palestinian people. The annual training programme for Palestinian media practitioners, which was in its ninth year, now included a week-long session in Geneva at the headquarters of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The 2004 session of the training programme was scheduled to begin the following week; 10 Palestinian journalists had been invited to participate. Moreover, the Department’s annual media seminar had been revamped and now served as an annual forum for policy makers, experts and media professionals from the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, as well as from other parts of the world. The Department’s 2004 Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists’ Fellowship Programme was an annual training programme for journalists from developing countries, including journalists from Iraq and several other Muslim countries. The Department had also significantly expanded its outreach services to the media in the Middle East and other Arab regions.
63. Mr. Kanafi (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, noted that a small number of delegations had called on DPI to highlight the suffering of the Palestinians. He recalled that a special information programme on the question of Palestine already existed. The activities of that programme cost the Organization more than US$ 5 million biennially, which was more than certain States paid in contributions to the regular budget of the Organization. The Israeli-Arab conflict was the only conflict in the world which had a special information programme, which, moreover, stressed only one side of the conflict.
64. It was legitimate to ask how rational such a wasteful policy was at a time when there were no funds to tell other, more pressing, stories. He invited delegations to consider whether it was right that one topic should overshadow all others and whether such a policy might not have potentially tragic implications.
The meeting rose at 5.40 p.m.
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.