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UN, OSCE, OAS and ACHPR joint declaration on broadcasting diversity promotes greater access to information

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is an ARTICLE 19 press release:

Special Mandates Promote Broadcasting Diversity

The four special mandates on freedom of expression - the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the ACHPR (African Commission on Human and Peoples? Rights) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information - today issued a Joint Declaration on Broadcasting Diversity, with the assistance of ARTICLE 19.

The Joint Declaration makes a number of general points about the promotion of diversity, including that where regulatory tools are applied by bodies which lack independence from government or commercial interests, or in a non-transparent manner, they are likely to be abused. The Declaration also recognises the need for measures to promote three different types of diversity: diversity of outlet (types of media), diversity of source (ownership of the media) and diversity of content (media output). Among other things, the Declaration calls for:

a.. Broad public education efforts to promote media literacy and to help bridge the digital divide.
b.. The allocation of sufficient frequencies to broadcasting - including frequencies freed up as part of the digital dividend - and the equitable allocation of those frequencies to commercial, public service and community broadcasters.
c.. No licensing of the Internet.
d.. Special measures to promote and protect public service and community broadcasting.
e.. Strong anti-monopoly measures applied in a transparency fashion through active monitoring, and backed up by adequate enforcement powers.
f.. The use of policy tools to promote content diversity within and among media outlets.
g.. Support measures, applied in an objective and non-discriminatory manner, for the establishment of new media outlets and for the production of content which makes an important contribution to diversity.

ARTICLE 19 first brought the special mandates on freedom of expression together in 1999 and they have issued a Joint Declaration every year since then, making the 2007 Declaration their ninth. Each Declaration serves to elaborate on the meaning of freedom of expression in a different thematic area(s). Collectively, the Declarations provide important guidance to those wishing to understand international human rights standards.

The Joint Declaration is available at: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/mandates-broadcasting.pdf

ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works globally to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.

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