Statement by H.E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy
Before the Fourth Committee of the
60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
on agenda item 33: Questions relating to
New York, 13 October 2005
The Holy See recognises the right
to information and its importance in the life of all democratic societies and
institutions. The exercise of the freedom of communication should not depend
upon wealth, education, or political power. The right to communicate is the
right of all. Freedom of expression and the right to information increase and
develop in societies when the fundamental ethics of communication are not
compromised, such as the pre-eminence of truth and the good of the individual,
the respect for human dignity, and the promotion of the common good.
Furthermore, new technologies
have an important role to play in the advancement of the poor. As with
health and education, access to the wealth represented by communications would
certainly benefit the poor, as recipients of information to be sure, but also as
actors, able to promote their own point of view before the world’s decision
Given the ever increasing ease of
access to information of every possible kind, the Holy See also stresses the
need to protect the most vulnerable, such as children and young people,
especially in the light of the increase of content featuring violence,
intolerance and pornography.
Perhaps the most essential
question raised by technological progress is whether, as a result of it, people
will grow in dignity, responsibility and openness to others.
In this context, the Holy See has
set up a unique continent-wide initiative called the Digital Network of the
Church in Latin America (Red Informatica de Iglesia en America Latina –
RIIAL) which promotes the adoption of digital technologies and programmes in
media education, especially in poor areas. The success of this project has drawn
the attention of the Observatory for Cultural and Audiovisual Communication in
the Mediterranean and in the World (OCCAM) and other international organisations.
The Holy See also supports the continued promotion of the traditional role of
libraries and radios in formation.
It is to be hoped that the Second
Phase of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be held in
Tunis shortly, will lead to further concrete efforts to build a more inclusive
digital society which will reduce the widespread “info-poverty”. It would be
well if a new dynamic were created which goes beyond the political and
commercial logic usually at play in these fields.
My delegation believes that the
Information Society should be one endowed with the ability, capacity and skills
to generate and capture new knowledge and to access, absorb and use effectively
information, data and knowledge with the support of information and
communication technology. Already in society there are many “agents of meaning”
or “knowledge workers”, such as the family, schools, the State, opinion makers
and leaders, not to mention religious institutions.
Knowledge is essential in
establishing presence in the international marketplace, and is key to
participating in the global economy of which the Internet is an increasingly
important vehicle. Moreover, knowledge should be recognised in its role in the
development of information and communication technology. At the same time, there
is a fundamental need to develop an ability to discern information received,
given the enormous sea of information available. This process can flourish only
where there is a recognised hierarchy of values.
Thank you, Mr.