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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/RES/43/60
6 December 1988

43/60. Questions relating to information

A*


The General Assembly,

Recalling its previous resolutions on questions relating to information,

Reaffirming the mandate given to the Committee on Information by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/182 of 18 December 1979,

Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on questions relating to information,1/

Encouraging the Secretary-General to continue necessary action in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat, with particular emphasis on securing a co-ordinated approach to priority issues before the Organization,

Taking note of the comprehensive report of the Committee on Information,2/ which served as an important basis and stimulated further deliberations,

1. Urges the full implementation of the following recommendations:

(1) All countries, the United Nations system as a whole and all others concerned should co-operate in the establishment of a new world information and communication order, seen as an evolving and continuous process, and based, inter alia, on the free circulation and wider and better balanced dissemination of information, guaranteeing diversity of sources of information and free access to information and, in particular, the urgent need to change the dependent status of the developing countries in the field of information and communication, as the principle of sovereign equality among nations extends also to this field, and intended also to strengthen peace and international understanding, enabling all persons to participate effectively in political, economic, social and cultural life and promoting human rights, understanding and friendship among all nations. The ongoing efforts of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which retains the central role in this field, to eliminate gradually the existing imbalances in the field of information and communication and to encourage a free flow and a wider and better balanced dissemination of information in accordance with the relevant resolutions of that organization, adopted by consensus, should be reaffirmed;

(2) Considering the important role that the media worldwide can freely play, particularly under the present situation, it is recommended that:
(3) Considering the existing imbalances in the international distribution of news, particularly that affecting the developing countries, it is recommended that urgent attention should be given to the elimination of existing imbalances by, inter alia, diversifying the sources of information and respecting the interests, aspirations and socio-cultural values of all peoples;

(4) The United Nations system as a whole, particularly the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the developed countries should be urged to co-operate in a concerted manner with the developing countries towards strengthening the information and communication infrastructures in the latter countries and promoting their access to advanced communications technology, in accordance with the priorities attached to such areas by the developing countries, with a view to enabling them to develop their own information and communications policies freely and independently and in the light of their social and cultural values, taking into account the principle of freedom of the press and information. In this regard, support should be provided for the continuation and strengthening of practical training programmes for broadcasters and journalists from developing countries;

(5) Note should be taken with appreciation of regional efforts, especially among the developing countries, as well as co-operation between developed and developing countries to develop further the media infrastructure in the developing countries, especially in the areas of training and dissemination of information, with a view to encouraging a free flow and a wider and better balanced dissemination of information;

(6) Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,3/ which provides that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression and that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers, and article 29, which stipulates that these rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, should be recalled;

(7) The relevant paragraphs of General Assembly resolution 59 (I) of 14 December 1946, in which the Assembly stated, inter alia, that freedom of information is a fundamental human right, must be reiterated;

(8) The primary role that the General Assembly is to play in elaborating, co-ordinating and harmonizing United Nations policies and activities in the field of information having been reaffirmed, the Secretary-General is requested to ensure that the activities of the Department of Public Information, as the focal point of the public information tasks of the United Nations, are strengthened and improved, keeping in view the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the priority areas such as those stated in section III, paragraph 1, of General Assembly resolution 35/201 of 16 December 1980 and other pertinent resolutions of the Assembly and the recommendations of the Committee on Information, so as to ensure an objective and more coherent coverage of, as well as better knowledge about, the United Nations and its work. The Secretary-General is further requested to ensure that the Department of Public Information:
(9) In the light of the present international situation, the Department of Public Information should continue its efforts to promote an informed understanding of the work and purposes of the United Nations system among the peoples of the world and to strengthen the image of the United Nations system as a whole. In this connection, the Secretary-General is requested to ensure that the Department of Public Information:
(e) Take adequate measures to resume the taped radio programmes, which it temporarily curtailed, bearing in mind the objective of their effective utilization and maximum audience impact and report on this matter to the General Assembly at its forty-fourth session;
(10) In view of the proposals of the Department of Public Information to eliminate certain programmes, the Secretary-General is requested to stop any action on the proposed elimination and to submit a comprehensive report on the matter to the General Assembly at its forty-fourth session;

(11) The Secretary-General is urged to continue his efforts to secure a sound and stable financial basis for the Department of Public Information to produce its publications on time, particularly Development Forum, The United Nations Yearbook, the UN Chronicle, the Africa Recovery Report and the World Newspaper Supplement, and to ensure that they retain their editorial policy of intellectual independence and reflect adequately the United Nations activities, and to submit a report thereon to the Committee on Information at its 1989 substantive session;

(12) The unique function of the United Nations information centres, recognized as one of the most important means of disseminating information about the United Nations among the peoples of the world, should be enhanced. In this regard, United Nations information centres should intensify direct and systematic communication exchange with local media information and educational institutions and non-governmental organizations recognized by the Economic and Social Council in a mutually beneficial way and arrange for constant evaluation of their activities in this regard. Every effort should be made to establish close co-ordination with other field offices of the United Nations system, particularly those of the United Nations Development Programme, in order to avoid duplication of work, taking into account the functional autonomy of the United Nations information centres. The Department of Public Information should ensure open and unhindered access by all people to all United Nations information centres and to all materials distributed through the centres. It is also urged to accelerate the process of linking the remaining United Nations information centres that have not been linked with electronic mail;

(13) In recognition of the need for co-ordinating information activities of the United Nations system and of the important role that the Joint United Nations Information Committee plays in this regard, the Department of Public Information is encouraged to continue its active participation in the work of that Committee;

(14) It is recognized that the free distribution of materials is necessary in the public information activities of the United Nations. However, as demands increase and whenever it is desirable and possible, the Department of Public Information should actively encourage the sale of its materials;

(15) The Secretary-General is requested to ensure that the reorganization and restructuring of the Department of Public Information strengthen and improve the output of the mandated programmes and activities of the Department, taking into account the need for equitable geographical distribution of posts in the Department;

(16) The Secretary-General is requested to take effective steps to increase in the Department of Public Information the representation of underrepresented developing countries and of other underrepresented groups of countries, especially at the senior levels, in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, and to submit a report to the Committee on Information at its substantive session in 1989;

(17) The Secretary-General is requested to ensure full programme delivery by the Caribbean Unit, including implementation of the provisions of General Assembly resolution 38/82 B of 15 December 1983, and to submit a report to the Committee on Information at its substantive session in 1989 on the measures taken in the implementation of the present recommendation;

(18) The Secretary-General is requested to maintain the functions of the Middle East/Arabic Unit as the producer of Arabic television and radio programmes, to strengthen and expand this Unit to enable it to function in an effective manner and to report to the Committee on Information at its substantive session in 1989 on the implementation of the present recommendation;

(19) The United Nations system, particularly the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, should aim at providing all possible support and assistance to the developing countries with due regard to their interests and needs in the field of information and to action already taken within the United Nations system, including, in particular:
(20) In this regard, full support for the International Programme for the Development of Communication of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,5/ which constitutes an important step in the development of these infrastructures, should always be provided;

2. Requests that the provisions of the present resolution relating to the activities of the Department of Public Information be implemented within existing resources, taking into account the priorities set by the General Assembly;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Committee on Information at its substantive session in 1989 on the implementation of the present resolution;

4. Also requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its forty-fourth session on the implementation of the present resolution;

5. Takes note with appreciation of the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee for Programme and Co-ordination 6/ and requests the Secretary-General to submit a detailed report to the Committee on Information at its eleventh session on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 41/213 of 19 December 1986, bearing in mind resolution 42/211 of 21 December 1987;

6. Requests the Committee on Information to report to the General Assembly at its forty-fourth session;

7. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its forty-fourth session the item entitled "Questions relating to information".


*Only resolution 43/60 A deals with matters related to the question of Palestine.

* * *



1/ A/43/639.

2/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-Third Session, Supplement No. 21 (A/43/21).

3/ Resolution 217 A (III).

4/ Resolution S-13/2, annex.

5/ See United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Records of the General Conference, Twenty-first Session, vol. I, Resolutions, sect. III, resolution 4/21.



RECORDED VOTE ON RESOLUTION 43/60 A: 128-8-16

In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Byelorussia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Kampuchea, Democratic Yemen, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, German Democratic Republic, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, USSR, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Belgium, Canada, Federal Republic of Germany, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstaining: Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey.

Absent: Albania, Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Suriname.


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