Communication Rights: A different communication is possible

2005-08-15 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 general:

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 communication.

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

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 Observatories.

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 responsibility.

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 –