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Annan urges Asian broadcasters to build open information societies

Annan urges Asian broadcasters to build open information societies

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged Asian broadcasters to work towards a media policy aimed at building open information societies that benefit all people in the region.

In a message to the Third General Conference of the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development being held this week in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the Secretary-General underscored the impact of the electronic media on all facets of society.

"Rapid and radical technological change is opening the door to information access and exchange on an unprecedented scale, reshaping the way human beings communicate with each other and lead their lives," he said in a message delivered by a senior UN official in the country to participants from more than 40 governments and organizations.

"If well-managed, this holds enormous promise for the people of the Asia-Pacific region and the world - to improve health, trade, education, governance and ultimately, individual lives," he said.

Mr. Annan encouraged the AIBD to help build more effective cooperation, not only across international borders, but also between the public and private sectors, and to work towards the goal of universal access to the fruits of new technologies while promoting a media environment based on freedom of expression and tolerance of diversity.

"We at the United Nations remain committed to the same goals," he declared. "Let us all work to ensure that the communication revolution that empowers all people, and nurtures tolerance among all peoples."

The Institute assists radio and television broadcasters with development and training, and organizes seminars and conferences for policy-makers and media professionals to boost understanding and tolerance.