CRIS statement to Social Movements Assembly

2005-02-01 00:00:00

CRIS Campaign statement for the Social Movements Assembly - FSM 2005

Communications is a core theme at this year's World Social Forum. It is a core theme because the demand for a better, more equitable communications environment is emerging as the demand of a new social movement for communication rights.

The information and communications sector has become a strategic part of the global market economy. It is a sector characterised by gross imbalances: increasing concentration of the media, information property rules that favour the big corporations, privatisation of the means of communication, and new technologies of mass surveillance.

There is a growing communications divide between one third of the world's population with the power to communicate globally, instantaneously and the other two thirds who barely have access to electricity and for whom the Internet is an unknown world.

The campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society (CRIS) believes that communication is a fundamental human right and is mobilizing around a common agenda for action and has identified a series of communication rights priorities for 2005.

1. We are committed to defending and affirming our communication rights and freedoms. In the context of the World Summit on the Information Society we call for a campaign to put the spotlight on communication rights in Tunisia, the host country for the 2005 Summit. The Tunisian government systematically violates rights of access to information, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and respect for privacy.

2. We are committed to defend communication rights against the harmful impact of global free trade and to promote respect for cultural and media diversity. We therefore support proposals, under debate in UNESCO, for a strong international convention to promote and defend cultural diversity. We will vigorously oppose attempts to include the cultural and media sector in World Trade Organisation and other free trade agreements.

3. We call on social movements to work with us in building a communication rights movement from the bottom up. We invite local and grassroots organisations to join with us to build networks and alliances at national, regional and international levels to defend and promote communication rights.

Calendar of Action

We call on social movements to mobilise around the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in 16-18 November 2005, to assert "another communication is possible" and to defend freedom of expression and human rights in Tunisia.

We call on social movements to support a strong convention on cultural diversity and to mobilise against the inclusion of culture and media in international free trade agreements. We look to build alliances with other social movements in this struggle, in particular to resist information becoming a commodity under the WTO-GATs-IPR regime.

Dates of particular importance include the UNESCO General Assembly in October, WTO Ministerial Meeting Hong Kong December 2005, Summit of the Americas, Argentina, November 2005.