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

A different communication is possible

2005-12-16 00:00:00

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 discrimination.

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 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 – ADITAL