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Statement by Ms. YAN Jiarong, Chinese Delegate, at the Fourth Committee of the 62nd Session of UN General Assembly on the Agenda Item: "Questions Relating to Information"
18 October 2007

2007/10/18

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

The Chinese delegation wishes to express our thanks to Under-Secretary-General Kiyotaka Akasaka for his introduction to the agenda item. We welcome his interactive dialogue with Member States. We applaud the achievements made by the Department of Public Information (DPI) under his able leadership.

 

In the just concluded general debate of the 62nd session of the General Assembly, nearly 100 heads of state or government spoke at the UN podium. This is the biggest gathering of world leaders at the GA sessions since the Millennium Summit in 2000 and the World Summit in 2005. This in a sense also demonstrates that as the most universal, representative and authoritative intergovernmental organization, the United Nations is receiving more and more attention and support. Its status as the core of the global multilateral mechanism is strengthening and the norms of international relations that it advocates, namely, peace, mutual benefit and cooperation, are gaining greater popular support.

 

The public information activities of the United Nations are aimed at publicizing the UN activities to the peoples of the entire world, and contributing to the purposes and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations. This is a process of mobilizing the public opinion and enlisting popular support. It also constitutes an important part of the overall soft power of the United Nations. To accomplish such an important mission, the DPI has identified the priorities for strategic communications and laid out its objectives. Both traditional and modern means of communications are used to provide satisfactory information service. Outreach activities have been conducted through various channels to strengthen contacts and communication with NGOs, young students and other communities. All these efforts have yielded fruitful results.

 

Peace and security, climate change, MDGs and human rights have been identified as the four themes of main activities for DPI for the year 2007. These are issues of great significance that bear on the subsistence of people and sustainable development of the globe. We hope the DPI will focus on these issues and make its publicity more targeted, efficient and effective.

 

It is our view that the task of publicizing the United Nations should not fall solely on the DPI. Other organs and agencies of the United Nations also need to enhance their information and publicity awareness and work voluntarily and actively to enhance and publicize the positive image of the United Nations. The DPI should strengthen planning and coordination, and formulate interagency publicity strategies and plans. Mechanisms such as the UN Communications Group and issue-based task forces should be fully utilized. There should be a clear division of labor among departments, bodies and organs. With coordinated and concerted efforts, they can tell good UN stories.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

The agenda item we are deliberating on are set by GA resolution 34/182 adopted in 1979. This resolution calls for promoting "the establishment of a new, more just and more effective world information and communication order intended to strengthen peace and international understanding and based on the free circulation and wider and better balanced dissemination of information". With the gap between the rich and poor and the "digital divide" widening today, this appeal is of special relevance and significance for us today. The Chinese delegation believes that, to gradually establish a more just and effective world information and communication order, the UN information sector at this point may make greater efforts in the following areas:

 

First, the United Nations should provide accurate, impartial and objective information and play a more effective role in balancing information. It should explicitly prevent and rebut misleading propaganda, distorted facts and falsified news. There should be a just and favorable atmosphere and environment for news coverage in the United Nations.

 

Second, special attention should be given to the issue of development to guide the public opinion away from the tendency of "focusing on peace while neglecting development". Now it is already more than half way into the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, but the concerns of developing countries are far from being resolved. In the final analysis, many hotspot issues, such as terrorism, climate change and the Darfur issue, are issues of development. We hope the UN information sector will invest more energy to help more media outlets and general public correctly appreciate the issue of development and promote common development of the world.

 

Third, the UN information sector should play a bigger role in promoting mutual understanding and dialogue among civilizations and religions. The media should be encouraged and guided to play a constructive role in opposing discrimination and prejudice based on religion, ethnicity and other factors, disseminating values of peace that are accepted by different cultures and religions, and promoting the concepts of tolerance, respect, justice and harmony.

 

Fourth, traditional means of communications and dissemination should be strengthened to cater to the needs of developing countries. Though internet is now extensively used and communications technology is constantly upgraded, we should not forget that many regions and peoples in the world still rely mainly on traditional means of communications, such as broadcasting and printed material. Information activities of the United Nations should help narrow, rather than widen the existing disparities between different regions and countries in information flows. In this respect, we commend the efforts made by the UN Radio.

 

Fifth, it is necessary to establish partnerships with more media outlets of developing countries and provide them with more assistance and facilitation. The UN information sector needs to expand and develop cooperation and exchanges with the media sector of developing countries and provide human resources and technological assistance to the greatest extent to strengthen their capacity to develop and disseminate information through their own cultural products. We encourage the DPI to continue and strengthen its efforts to provide training and internship programs for journalists from developing countries. We hope the Spokesperson's office as well as DPI can accommodate more media of developing countries when organizing media pools or arranging interviews.

 

Sixth, contacts with NGOs and eminent public figures from developing countries should be strengthened. The 60th Annual DPI/NGO Conference made useful efforts to facilitate greater involvement of NGOs from developing countries. We appreciate such efforts. We hope the United Nations appoints more Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors from developing countries so as to send the UN messages to every corner of the world.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

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