CRIS Campaign statement for the Social Movements Assembly

2005-08-10 00:00:00

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

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

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

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

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

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.