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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Fifty-eighth General Assembly
Fourth Committee
16th Meeting (PM)
GA/SPD/273
29 October 2003

FOURTH COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT ASKING GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO EMPHASIZE

PUBLIC INFORMATION DEPARTMENT’S ESSENTIAL ROLE AS UN’S CLEAR, EFFECTIVE VOICE



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Background

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon to conclude its general debate on questions relating to information.  (For background information, see Press Release GA/SPD/271 of 27 October 2003.)  It was also expected to take action on two related draft resolutions and a draft decision contained in the report on the twenty-fifth session of the Committee on Information (document A/58/21).

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Statements

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YUSSEF F. KANAAN, Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the world was witnessing an astronomical leap in new information and communication technology, which was growing at an alarming speed.  Modern media had assumed increasing responsibility in shaping societal values, cultures, structures and future directions.  Several areas required the Department’s attention, including human rights, the issue of dialogue among civilizations and training programmes for broadcasters and journalists from developing countries.  The Department was to be commended for renaming its annual training programme for young journalists in honour of Reham Al-Farra, one the United Nations staff members killed in the terrorist bombing of the Organization’s Baghdad headquarters. 

He said that as the Israeli Government continued its inhumane military campaign against the Palestinian people, committing war crimes and destroying the peace process, it was imperative that the United Nations shoulder its responsibility regarding the question of Palestine, including in the field of information.  He commended the Department for implementing its special programme to enhance public awareness on the question of Palestine, including its convening, in 2002 and 2003, of the International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian people. 

Right of Reply

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SHASHI THAROOR, Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information, ...

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He said the Middle East question remained one of the highest priorities for the United Nations and the Department had established a focal point for Arab-language media to strengthen the United Nations information capacity in the Arab world.  Its international media seminar on peace in the Middle East, held in Spain last week, had brought together journalists and policy makers from Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  The Department’s annual training programme for Palestinian media practitioners would take place in November and would offer five weeks of hands-on training on audio-visual production and reporting to 10 Palestinian journalists.

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For information media - not an official record