Communication Rights: A different communication is possible

2004-08-17 00:00:00

Public letter from the Latin American Communication Networks
in support of the CRIS campaign

A different communication is posible

The communication organizations of Latin America that promote
communication rights, assembled in the city of Quito for the
Social Forum of the Americas, issue the following statement to
communicators, members of society and the public opinion in

We recognize the growing influence of communication and of new
communication and information technologies. Nevertheless, we
reject the continuing unfair concentration of Media property
and of Media content in the hands of the few that for years
control the modes of production, commerce, and finance.

We are profoundly worried that the tendency towards the
monopoly of communication Media and the progressive
transformation of information into a commodity will infringe
or negate these communication rights: freedom of information
and expression and of diversity and Media plurality. This
situation requires all sectors involved in democracy to be
vigilant and take on the responsibility of democratizing

People, communities, and nations need a different
communication; a communication where individual and collective
voices, coming from their particular points of view, are
respected; where the decision to create conditions of dignity
and justice can be verbalized and, therefore, profoundly
realized; where opinions, regardless of the source, have
weight and influence in society.

We believe communication is a fundamental human right that is
with us from the moment we are born and that we should all be
able to exercise with equal opportunities. Given this
fundamental nature of communication, it should serve to create
social inclusion so that through communication differences and
conflicts are expressed in dialog that includes all points of
view, in search of the common good.

Therefore, we invite communicators, Media, societal
organizations, and people or organizations with social
sensibilities, to join efforts to make communication and
information technologies useful instruments for a holistic,
democratic and sustainable human development, affirming the
following aspects:

1. A communication that is based in the recognition of the
other; of he or she that has a different culture, political
identity, sexual orientation, skin color, age, or economic
status, to create a culture of peace.

2. A communication oriented towards the development of
empowered citizens with the necessary tools to diagnose,
propose, decide, act (when possible), and evaluate public
policies that involve all sectors of society without

3. New communication and information technologies (CIT), whose
development is prioritized on closing the educational,
economic, scientific, and opportunity gaps that exists between
the rich and poor.

4. Communication Media, either commercial or communitarian,
with social responsibility and democratic inspiration, that
favors the defense and promotion of the public space, because
this permits the existence of a deliberative culture that
confronts and accepts diverse positions in order to have
dialog between them and construct agreement from conflict
while taking into account differences.

5. Communication and information regulations that relate
principally to the exercise of communication rights of
communities without discrimination or exclusion and that are
not limited to solely economic or technical parameters.

6. Citizens exercising their right to monitor communication
Media, while Media take on the responsibility to respond
positively to criticisms, because while Media may be private,
they operate in the public sphere. Therefore it is necessary
to increase the amount of citizen supervision and Media

7. Communication is a right and not a commercial activity. We
therefore reject any attempt to view the diverse forms of
exercising communication rights as mere audiovisual or
informational services and of a commercial character, such as
the World Trade Organization and regional trade agreements
such as the FTAA and others are trying to impose.

8. Finally, we renew our commitment to create and strengthen
citizen communication networks and communication Media
networks, sensitive to the public in order to create thinking
that is independent and more committed to democracy and the
planet, and whose base is solidarity and historical

Quito, July 29, 2004

Latin American communication networks that support the CRIS
Campaign: ALAI - ALER - AMARC - Political Monitoring Project
TIC en LAC de APC - OCLACC - Radipaz - WACC – ADITAL