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Source: General Assembly
Department of Public Information (DPI)
14 October 2005

General Assembly
GA/SPD/320

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixtieth General Assembly
Fourth Committee
9th Meeting (AM)


FOURTH COMMITTEE, ACTING BY CONSENSUS, APPROVES TWO DRAFT RESOLUTIONS,

DRAFT DECISION AS IT CONCLUDES DEBATE ON INFORMATION QUESTIONS

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Background

The Fourth Committee (Special, Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its consideration of questions relating to information.  It was also expected to take action on related texts contained in document A/60/21.

Statements

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PRASANNA KUMAR PATASANI (India), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said that the DPI, while forging ahead in the post-Summit era, must make a concerted effort to meet the concerns and special needs of the developing countries in the field of information and communications technology, as the digital divide continued to be vast.  Traditional media, including radio and print, were particularly relevant to developing countries in disseminating the main message of the United Nations.  India encouraged the DPI to do more in highlighting issues at the core of social and economic development, such as HIV/AIDS prevention, human rights, the question of Palestine, decolonization and the special needs of Africa.

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RAN GIDOR ( Israel) commended the DPI’s initiatives in the dissemination of public information and the improvement of communications, the design and maintenance of the United Nations website and the modernization of the United Nations library system.  Notwithstanding those positive developments, however, United Nations mechanisms, including the DPI, were not immune to the cynical exploitation that continued to encumber many of the Organization’s noble goals.

The Israeli delegation was disappointed that their country was still singled out by the DPI in various seminars and publications.  The time had come to abolish the Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine.  Today the people of the Middle East found themselves facing a window of opportunity in the struggle for peace, and the United Nations should avoid being the purveyor of anachronistic and unhelpful agendas.  Only through an honest presentation of information could the DPI maintain credibility as an objective international body.

All too often States in the Middle East exploited the political situation as a means to suppress their press and divert attention from the real issues affecting their citizenry, he said.  The Fourth Committee, supported by the DPI, should have no qualms about commending the protections given to a free press in some parts of the world, while condemning the oppressive controls imposed on it in others.  It was also an appropriate time to urge the Department to use its will, resources and energy to foster the former and combat the latter.  The more free information was, the more free people were.

Not all Governments used information to further the interests of their own subjects, or indeed, those of the international community, he said.  Recent terrorist atrocities, not only in Israel, but also in Madrid, London, Istanbul and other parts of the world, had demonstrated time and time that as long as Government-supported media and educational establishments continued to incite youth towards hatred, the ideals of harmony on which the United Nations was founded could not be realized.  In an age of terrorism, the international community simply could not afford to allow Governments to fan the flames of intolerance.  More must be done to ensure that information technology was used to bridge gaps and not to create divisions, to build peace and not to incite hatred.

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FAISAL AL-ZAYANI ( Bahrain), ...

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Regarding the important role of United Nations information centres in developing countries, he said they should not be closed or integrated with other offices of the United Nations unless the views of the host countries had been taken into account.  The DPI had been successful in all its activities and Bahrain thanked the Department for its activities undertaken regarding the question of Palestine.  It was to be hoped that it would continue its activities in that regard until a solution to that question had been found.

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For information media • not an official record

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