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Agenda item 32: Questions relating to information (continued)
The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.
Agenda item 32: Questions relating to information (continued) (A/63/21 and A/63/258)
1. Mr. Akasaka (Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information), introducing the report of the Secretary-General (A/63/258), said that the work of the Department of Public Information was guided by five objectives. These were: adoption of a strategic approach that emphasized priorities and early preparation, improved coordination, promotion of support for the United Nations by creating new partnerships — including with the television and film industries, non-governmental organizations, the business community and young people — and expanding old ones, promotion of multilingualism and, lastly, incorporation of internal evaluation as a tool for assessing the impact of its work.
4. Another step aimed at broadening the Department’s outreach was the planned launch of a new journal entitled “ UN Affairs”, which was to be the successor to the quarterly UN Chronicle . The commitment to provide assistance to the Palestinian people was reflected in the Department’s training programme for Palestinian journalists and the annual international media seminar on peace in the Middle East.
20. Mr. Taleb (Syrian Arab Republic) ...
21. Finally, he wished to know why the annual international media seminar on peace in the Middle East had been delayed.
22. Mr. Kanaan (Observer for Palestine) asked why the report of the Secretary-General had failed to mention efforts undertaken in implementation of General Assembly resolution 62/82 on the Department’s special information programme on the question of Palestine.
24. Mr. Akasaka (Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information), responding first to the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic, said that the international media seminar had been delayed because replies had not been immediately forthcoming from the Member States which had been approached to host the seminar. The Government of Austria had proposed to host the seminar in Vienna in early December.
25. Turning to the issue raised by the observer for Palestine, he said that the report of the Secretary-General was not meant to provide a comprehensive overview of the Department’s work; rather, it focused on activities undertaken since the thirtieth session of the Committee on Information. The Department’s training programme for Palestinian broadcasters and journalists was already under way and would be included in the following year’s report, as would an update on the rest of the Department’s activities relating to Palestine.
27. Mr. Taleb (Syrian Arab Republic), said that he could still not understand why an entire section on Palestine had disappeared from the Secretary-General’s report. At the very least, mention should have been made of The question of Palestine and the United Nations, one of the Department’s recent publications.
29. Mr. Akasaka ...
31. With regard to the remarks made by the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic, he said that every effort would be made not to repeat past errors. It could not be concluded that the Department did not accord due importance to its activities regarding Palestine. It would do its best to ensure that those activities were adequately reflected in future reports.
45. The Chairman , speaking as the representative of Egypt, ...
46. It was incumbent on the Department to enhance its coverage of priority issues on the agenda of the United Nations. To that end, it should endeavour to strengthen the role of the United Nations information centres in Cairo, Mexico City and Pretoria, extend the Organization’s information network throughout the world, particularly in developing and least developed countries, while respecting regional characteristics and also continue its programmes in support of economic and social development as well as its special information programme on Palestine.
47. In that connection, his delegation was disappointed to see that the report contained no information on the question of Palestine and looked forward to receiving an explanation for that omission. He hoped that it had not been caused by political considerations. ...
67. Ms. Raz-Shechter (Israel) ...
69. In conjunction with the long-standing Israeli initiative to educate the public on the principles and actions of the United Nations, her delegation invited the Department to open an information centre in Israel to foster dialogue and cooperation in the region. Israel’s unique status as a multilingual and multicultural democracy and as the birthplace of the world’s three great monotheistic religions, offered a unique opportunity for the Department.
70. However, her delegation was disappointed at the one-sided, biased and misleading picture of the facts on the ground in the Middle East put out by the special information programme on the question of Palestine. Given the Department’s tight budget, it was her delegation’s belief that by allowing that Programme to continue, the United Nations was failing to address more important priorities.
The meeting rose at 6 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.