United Nations

A/RES/45/76


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

11 December 1990

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



                                               A/RES/45/76
                                               65th plenary meeting
                                               11 December 1990
 
                      Questions relating to information
                                      A
                      Information in service of humanity
 
     The General Assembly,
 
     Taking note of the comprehensive and important report of the Committee on
Information,
 
     Also taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on questions
relating to information,
 
     Urges that all countries, organizations of the United Nations system as a
whole and all others concerned, reaffirming their commitment to the principles
of the Charter of the United Nations and to the principles of freedom of the
press and freedom of information, as well as to those of the independence,
pluralism and diversity of the media, deeply concerned by the disparities
existing between developed and developing countries and the consequences of
every kind arising from those disparities that affect the capability of the
public, private or other media and individuals in developing countries to
disseminate information and communicate their views and their cultural and
ethical values through endogenous cultural production, as well as to ensure
the diversity of sources of and their free access to information, recognizing
the call in this context for what in the United Nations and at various
international forums has been termed "a new world information and
communication order, seen as an evolving and continuous process", should:
 
     (a)  Co-operate and interact with a view to reducing existing disparities
in information flows at all levels by increasing assistance for the
development of  communication infrastructures and capabilities in developing
countries, with due regard for their needs and the priorities attached to such
areas by those countries, and in order to enable them and the public, private
or other media in developing countries to develop their own information and
communication policies freely and independently and increase the participation
of media and individuals in the communication process, and to ensure a free
flow of information at all levels;
 
     (b)  Ensure for journalists the free and effective performance of their
professional tasks and condemn resolutely all attacks against them;
 
     (c)  Provide support for the continuation and strengthening of practical
training programmes for broadcasters and journalists from public, private and
other media in developing countries;
 
     (d)  Enhance regional efforts and co-operation among developing
countries, as well as co-operation between developed and developing countries,
to strengthen communication capacities and to improve the media infrastructure
and communication technology in the developing countries, especially in the
areas of training and dissemination of information;
 
     (e)  Aim, in addition to bilateral co-operation, at providing all
possible support and assistance to the developing countries and the media,
public, private or other, in the developing countries, with due regard to
their interests and needs in the field of information and to action already
adopted within the United Nations system, including:
 
     (i)  The development of the human and technical resources that are
          indispensable for the improvement of information and communication
          systems in developing countries and support for the continuation and
          strengthening of practical training programmes, such as those
          already operating under both public and private auspices throughout
          the developing world;
 
    (ii)  The creation of conditions that will enable developing countries and
          their media, public, private or other, to have, by using their
          national and regional resources, the communication technology suited
          to their national needs, as well as the necessary programme
          material, especially for radio and television broadcasting;
 
   (iii)  Assistance in establishing and promoting telecommunication links at
          the subregional, regional and interregional levels, especially among
          developing countries;
 
     (f)  Provide full support for the International Programme for the
Development of Communication of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization, which should support both public and private media.
 
                                      B
          United Nations public information policies and activities
 
     The General Assembly,
 
     Taking note of the comprehensive and important report of the Committee on
Information,
 
     Also taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on questions
relating to information,
 
     1.   Calls upon the Secretary-General, in respect of United Nations
public information policies and activities, to implement the following
recommendations, in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions:
 
     (a)  The United Nations system as a whole should co-operate in a
concerted manner, through its information services and the co-ordination of
the Joint United Nations Information Committee, in promoting a more
comprehensive and realistic image of the activities and potential of the
United Nations system in all its endeavours, in accordance with the purposes
and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, with particular emphasis
on the creation of a climate of confidence, the strengthening of
multilateralism and the promotion of the development activities in the United
Nations system;
 
     (b)  Reaffirming the primary role of the General Assembly in elaborating,
co-ordinating and harmonizing United Nations policies and activities in the
field of information, the Secretary-General is requested to ensure that the
activities of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat, as the
focal point of the public information tasks of the United Nations, are
strengthened and improved, keeping in view the purposes and principles of the
Charter, the priority areas defined by the Assembly and the recommendations of
the Committee on Information, so as to ensure an objective and more coherent
coverage of, as well as better knowledge about, the United Nations and its
work.  The Secretary-General should ensure that the Department of Public
Information:
 
     (i)  Co-operate more regularly with the United Nations Educational,
          Scientific and Cultural Organization, especially at the working
          level, with a view to maximizing the contribution of the Department
          to the efforts of that organization;
 
    (ii)  Enhance its co-operation with news agencies of and in the developing
          countries, in particular, the News Agencies Pool of Non-Aligned
          Countries, the Eco-Pool of the News Agencies of Non-Aligned
          Countries and the Broadcasting Organization of Non-Aligned
          Countries, as well as with other news agencies and intergovernmental
          and regional organizations;
 
   (iii)  Continue to disseminate, in co-ordination with the information
          services of other relevant agencies, information about United
          Nations activities pertaining, inter alia, to:
 
     a.   International peace and security;
     b.   Disarmament;
     c.   Peace-keeping operations;
     d.   Decolonization and the situation in the Non-Self-Governing
          Territories;
     e.   The elimination of foreign occupation;
     f.   Human rights;
     g.   The elimination of all forms of racial discrimination;
     h.   The advancement of the status of women and their role in society;
     i.   Problems of economic and social development, as well as
          international economic co-operation aimed at resolving external debt
          problems;
     j.   The least developed countries;
     k.   The environment and development;
     l.   The campaign against terrorism in all its forms, bearing in mind
          General Assembly resolution 40/61 of 9 December 1985;
     m.   The international fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking;
 
    (iv)  Do its utmost to disseminate widely and to publicize the United
          Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and
          Development 1986-1990 and the tremendous efforts of the African
          countries towards recovery and development, as well as the positive
          response by the international community to alleviate the serious
          economic situation prevailing in Africa;
 
     (v)  Enhance the effectiveness of its activities and the dissemination of
          information on United Nations activities against the policies and
          practices of apartheid, giving due attention to the unilateral
          measures and official censorship imposed on the local and
          international media with regard to all aspects of that issue;
 
    (vi)  Continue to disseminate information about activities of the United
          Nations directed at a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of
          international conflicts by exclusively peaceful means, as
          highlighted in the Secretary-General's report on the work of the
          Organization;
 
   (vii)  Continue to cover all United Nations activities pertaining to the
          situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine in
          particular, and current developments in that region, and report
          thereon to the Committee on Information at its thirteenth session,
          in 1991;
 
     (c)  The Department of Public Information should continue its efforts in
promoting an informed understanding of the work and purposes of the United
Nations system among the peoples of the world and in strengthening the image
of the United Nations system as a whole and, in this connection, it is
recommended that the Secretary-General should ensure that the Department:
 
     (i)  Continue to maintain consistent editorial independence and accuracy
          in reporting all the material that it produces, taking necessary
          measures to ensure that its output contains adequate, objective and
          equitable information about issues before the Organization,
          reflecting divergent opinions where they occur;
 
    (ii)  Continue to apply, in the context of the review of its role,
          performance and methods of work, appropriate modern technologies for
          the collection, production, storage, dissemination and distribution
          of information materials, including the use of satellite facilities;
 
   (iii)  Consider expanding the programme of telephone news bulletins that
          are paid for by its users;
 
    (iv)  Continue its co-operation with those countries which have expressed
          readiness to assist the United Nations in resuming short-wave
          broadcasts through their respective national networks free of charge
          and encourage expansion of such a type of co-operation with those
          developed and developing countries having recognized capabilities in
          this field;
 
     (v)  Take adequate measures to resume taped radio programmes, which it
          has temporarily curtailed, if so requested by broadcasting stations;
 
    (vi)  Continue its briefing, assistance and orientation programme for
          broadcasters and journalists from developing countries focused on
          United Nations-related issues;
 
   (vii)  Provide, on the basis of its activities, information to the United
          Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization about new
          forms of co-operation, at the regional and subregional levels, for
          the training of media professionals and for the improvement of the
          information and communication infrastructure of developing
          countries;
 
  (viii)  Co-operate with educational institutions of Member States and with
          educators and education policy-makers, informing them about United
          Nations activities;
 
    (ix)  Ensure adequate daily coverage of United Nations open meetings in
          the two working languages of the Secretariat, reflecting the views
          of all delegations with accuracy and objectivity.  The Department
          should also continue to co-operate closely with and provide
          assistance to members of the United Nations Correspondents
          Association, taking into account their needs and requirements,
          especially in the area of press releases, press conferences and
          briefings, which provide them with basic information for reporting;
 
     (x)  Use the official languages of the United Nations adequately in its
          written and audio-visual materials and make balanced use of the two
          working languages of the Secretariat;
 
    (xi)  Ensure timely distribution of its materials to subscribers and to
          United Nations information centres;
 
     (d)  The Department of Public Information should produce and distribute
its publications in a timely manner.  In particular, the Secretary-General is
requested to make further efforts regarding the timely appearance of the
Yearbook of the United Nations.  The improvement in format and printing of the
UN Chronicle is welcome.  The Department is encouraged to continue to consider
the interests of specific target audiences as it formulates its editorial
policies;
 
     (e)  The Secretary-General is requested to expedite his consultations
regarding the provision of appropriate technical and financial assistance to
those States which are broadcasting or willing to broadcast to South Africa in
order to enable their radio transmitters to be heard inside South Africa, as
identified in his report, in fulfilment of the mandate of the General Assembly
reflected in paragraph 1 of that report, and to report to the Committee on
Information at its thirteenth session;
 
     (f)  The Secretary-General is urged to continue his efforts to secure a
sound and stable financial basis for the publications Development Forum and
Africa Recovery;
 
     (g)  It is recognized that United Nations information centres constitute
an important means of disseminating information about the United Nations among
the peoples of the world.  In this regard, the centres should intensify direct
and systematic communication exchange with local media, information and
educational institutions and non-governmental organizations.  The Department
should arrange for periodic evaluation of the activities of the centres in
this regard.  It should continue to co-ordinate closely with other field
offices of the United Nations system, particularly those of the United Nations
Development Programme, in order to avoid duplication of work, taking into
account the functional autonomy that the United Nations information centres
should have.  The Department should provide open and unhindered access by all
people to all United Nations information centres and to all materials
distributed through the centres.  It is also urged to pursue the process of
linking the remaining United Nations information centres that have not been
linked with electronic mail;
 
     (h)  Stressing the need for co-ordinating the information activities of
the United Nations system and recognizing the important role that the Joint
United Nations Information Committee plays in that regard, the Department of
Public Information is encouraged to continue its active participation in the
work of the Committee;
 
     (i)  It is recognized that free distribution of materials is necessary in
the public information activities of the United Nations.  However, as demands
increase and whenever it is desirable and possible, the Department of Public
Information should actively encourage the sale of its materials;
 
     (j)  In view of the importance of radio programmes in developing
countries, the Secretary-General is requested to enhance the efficiency of and
to ensure full programme delivery by all regional radio units, namely, the
African, Asian, Caribbean, European, Latin American and Middle Eastern Units
and the Anti-Apartheid Programmes Section, including production of radio
programmes called for by the General Assembly in resolution 38/82 B of
15 December 1983;
 
     (k)  All reports of the Secretary-General, as well as reports by
representatives of the Department of Public Information, to the Committee on
Information and to the General Assembly, in particular on new programmes or on
the expansion of existing programmes, should contain:
 
     (i)  Detailed information on the output of the Department on each topic
          included in its work programme, which forms the basis of its
          programme budget;
 
    (ii)  The costs of the activities undertaken on each topic;
 
   (iii)  Adequate information on target audiences, end-use of the products of
          the Department and analysis of feedback data received by it;
 
    (iv)  A statement detailing the priority level that the Secretary-General
          has attached to current or future activities of the Department in
          documents dealing with such activities;
 
     (v)  Evaluation by the Department of the effectiveness of its different
          programmes and activities, with particular reference to the need
          constantly to review internal programme elements and activities;
 
     2.   Requests the Secretary-General to implement the recommendations
relating to the activities of the Department of Public Information in
accordance with the budgetary procedures as approved by the General Assembly
in its resolutions 41/213 of 19 December 1986, 42/211 of 21 December 1987,
43/213 of 21 December 1988 and 44/200 B of 21 December 1989, and taking into
account the priorities set by the Assembly;
 
     3.   Also requests the Secretary-General to report to the Committee on
Information at its thirteenth session, in 1991, on the activities of the
Department of Public Information and on the implementation of the
recommendations contained in the present resolution;
 
     4.   Further requests the Secretary-General to report to the General
Assembly at its forty-sixth session on the implementation of the present
resolution;
 
     5.   Requests the Committee on Information to report to the General
Assembly at its forty-sixth session;
 
     6.   Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its forty-sixth
session the item entitled "Questions relating to information".