UNESCO General Conference Adopts Sanaa Declaration [Archives:1997/49/Front Page]

December 8 1997

The UNESCO General Conference adopted last month the Sanaa Declaration of Press Freedom. According to Paragraph 10 of document 29/C/24 which was endorsed by delegates representing 186 member-nations of the organization, the declaration firmly puts the Middle East in line with the world trend that respects human rights and press freedom. The Sanaa Declaration was issued by a Arab journalists following a seminar held in Sanaa from January 7th-11th, under the theme “Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Arab Media”. It was this region’s sequel to a number of regional media gatherings (Windhoek, 1991, for black Africa; Alma Ata, 1992, for Central Asia; and Santiago, 1993, for Latin America).
These series of meetings are sponsored by the UNESCO in collaboration with the United Nations. Mr. Alain Modoux, CIJ/FED Director at UNESCO, visibly upbeat about the endorsement of the Sanaa Declaration, said such a decision represented a “formidable thrust forward for democracy in the Arab World”. The Sanaa Delaration, now adopted by Arab Governments, commits them to enact and/or revise laws with a view to: – enforcing the rights to freedom of expression and press freedom and legally enforceable free access to information; – eliminating monopoly controls over news and advertising; – putting an end toall forms of social, economic or political discrimination in broadcasting, in the allocation of frequencies, in newspaper and magazine distribution and in newsprint production and allocation; and – abolishing all barriers to launching new publications and any form of discriminatory taxation. UNESCO in collaboration with the relevantUN departments will now follow-up with measures to ensure that the commitments under the Sanaa Declaration are observed. It plans a follow-up meeting with special emphasis on human rights and the media.