United Nations

A/RES/50/31


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  
50th session
5 February 1996


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 87


                  RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

     [on the report of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee
                        (Fourth Committee) (A/50/608)]


                50/31.   Questions relating to information

                                       A

                    Information in the service of humanity


      The General Assembly,

      Taking note of the comprehensive and important report of the
Committee on Information,  1/

      Also taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on
questions relating to information,  2/

      Urges 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 and their free access to information, and
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":

      (a)   To cooperate 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)   To ensure for journalists the free and effective performance
of their professional tasks and condemn resolutely all attacks against
them;

      (c)   To 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)   To enhance regional efforts and cooperation among developing
countries, as well as cooperation 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)   To aim, in addition to bilateral cooperation, at providing
all possible support and assistance to the developing countries and
their media, public, private or other, 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;

     (iv)   The facilitation, as appropriate, of access by the
            developing countries to advanced communication technology
            available on the open market;

      (f)   To provide full support for the International Programme for
the Development of Communication  3/ of the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which should
support both public and private media.

                                                          82nd plenary meeting
                                                               6 December 1995


                                       B

           United Nations public information policies and activities

      The General Assembly,

      Reaffirming its primary role in elaborating, coordinating and
harmonizing United Nations policies and activities in the field of
information,

      Also reaffirming that the Secretary-General should ensure that
the activities of the Department of Public Information of the
Secretariat, as the focal point for the public information tasks of
the United Nations, are strengthened and improved, keeping in view the
purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the
priority areas defined by the General Assembly and the recommendations
of the Committee on Information,                 
      Taking note of all the reports of the Secretary-General submitted
to the Committee on Information at its seventeenth session,

      1.    Welcomes Belize, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Kazakstan, and
South Africa following the establishment of a united, non-racial and
democratic Government in that country, to membership in the Committee
on Information;

      2.    Decides to consolidate the role of the Committee on
Information as its main subsidiary body mandated to make
recommendations relating to the work of the Department of Public
Information of the Secretariat; 

      3.    Calls upon the Secretary-General, in respect of the public
information policies and activities of the United Nations, to
implement fully the recommendations contained in paragraph 2 of its
resolution 48/44 B of 10 December 1993;

      4.    Requests the Secretary-General, in order to put into
practice the need for an effective public information capacity of the
Department of Public Information for the formation and day-to-day
functioning of the information components of peace-keeping and other
field operations of the United Nations, to ensure the involvement of
the Department at the planning stage of such future operations through
interdepartmental consultations and coordination with the other
substantive departments of the Secretariat; 

      5.    Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General regarding
the continuous and major publications of the Department of Public
Information  4/ and urges all efforts to ensure timely production
and dissemination of its major publications, in particular the UN
Chronicle, the Yearbook of the United Nations and Africa Recovery,
maintaining consistent editorial independence and accuracy, and taking
the necessary measures to ensure that its output contains adequate,
objective and equitable information about issues before the
Organization, reflecting divergent opinions wherever they occur;

      6.    Requests the Secretary-General to increase his efforts for
the early resumption of the publication Development Forum, or an
alternative system-wide publication that meets the requirements set
out for new publications by the Committee on Information;

      7.    Requests the management of the Department of Public
Information to review its publications and proposals for publications
to ensure that all publications fulfil an identifiable need, that they
do not duplicate other publications inside or outside the United
Nations system and that they are produced in a cost-effective manner,
and to report thereon to the Committee on Information at its
eighteenth session; 

      8.    Reaffirms the importance attached by Member States to the
role of United Nations information centres in effectively and
comprehensively disseminating information, particularly in developing
countries and countries in transition, about United Nations
activities; 

      9.    Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the
results of the trial of integrating United Nations information centres
with field offices of the United Nations Development Programme, 
5/ and invites the Secretary-General to continue the integration
exercise whenever feasible, on a case-by-case basis, while taking into
account the views of the host country, and ensuring that the
information functions and autonomy of the United Nations information
centres are not adversely affected, and to report thereon to the
Committee on Information;

      10.   Reaffirms the role of the General Assembly in relation to
the opening of new United Nations information centres and invites the
Secretary-General, as well, to make such recommendations as he may
judge necessary regarding the establishment and location of these
centres;

      11.   Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the
allocation of resources to United Nations information centres in
1994  6/ and calls upon him to continue to study ways and means to
rationalize and effect equitable disbursement of available resources
to all United Nations information centres and to report thereon to the
Committee on Information at its eighteenth session;

      12.   Welcomes the action by some Member States with regard to
financial and material support to United Nations information centres
in their respective capitals; 

      13.   Welcomes the successful conclusion of the negotiations on
the establishment of a United Nations information component at Warsaw;

      14.   Notes the progress made by the Secretary-General and the
German authorities towards establishing, within existing resources of
the Department of Public Information, a United Nations information
centre at Bonn;

      15.   Notes with appreciation the action taken, or being taken, by
the Secretary-General regarding the reactivation and enhancement of
the United Nations information centres at Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam,
Dhaka and Tehran;

      16.   Welcomes the continued enhanced cooperation between the
Department of Public Information and the University for Peace in Costa
Rica as a focal point for promoting United Nations activities and
disseminating United Nations information materials;
 
      17.   Takes note of the requests of Bulgaria, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti
and Slovakia for information centres or information components; 

      18.   Expresses its full support for the wide and prompt coverage
of United Nations activities through a continuation of United Nations
press releases in both working languages of the Secretariat, namely,
English and French, and welcomes the improvements in the quality and
speedy issue of those press releases in both working languages;  

      19.   Encourages the Secretary-General to explore ways and means
to improve the access of United Nations radio to airwaves worldwide,
bearing in mind that radio is one of the most cost-effective and
far-reaching media available to the Department of Public Information
and is an important instrument in United Nations activities with
regard to development and peace-keeping;

      20.   Notes with appreciation the efforts of the Department of
Public Information to take advantage of recent developments in
information technology in order to improve the dissemination of
information on the United Nations, and encourages the Department to
continue its efforts in this field;

      21.  Notes the important role the Department of Public
Information will have to play in responding to the increased public
interest resulting from the fiftieth anniversary of the United
Nations, and requests the Department to ensure the greatest possible
access to United Nations guided tours, as well as to ensure that
displays in public areas are kept as informative, up to date and
relevant as possible;

      22.   Invites Member States that wish to do so to submit to the
Secretary-General by 15 March 1996 their observations and suggestions
on ways and means of furthering the development of communication
infrastructures and capabilities in developing countries, with a view
to consolidating recent experience in the field of international
cooperation aimed at enabling them to develop their own information
and communication capacities freely and independently, and requests
the Secretary-General to report thereon to the Committee on
Information at its eighteenth session; 
      23.   Recommends, in order to continue to facilitate contact
between the Department of Public Information and the Committee on
Information between sessions, that the Bureau of the Committee,
together with representatives of each regional group, the Group of 77
and China, in close contact with the members of the Committee, should
meet on a regular basis and consult at periodic intervals with
representatives of the Department;

      24.   Takes note of the request of Belarus, the Russian Federation
and Ukraine concerning information activities for the tenth
anniversary in 1996 of the Chernobyl disaster and calls upon the
Department of Public Information to continue cooperation with the
countries concerned, and with the relevant organizations and bodies of
the United Nations system, with a view to establishing and
implementing such activities as appropriate, and within existing
resources; 

      25.   Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Committee on
Information at its eighteenth session and to the General Assembly at
its fifty-first session on the activities of the Department of Public
Information and on the implementation of the recommendations contained
in the present resolution;

      26.   Decides that the eighteenth session of the Committee on
Information should last not more than ten working days, and invites
the Bureau of the Committee to explore ways and means of making
optimum use of the Committee's time;

      27.   Requests the Committee on Information to report to the
General Assembly at its fifty-first session;

      28.   Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its
fifty-first session the item entitled "Questions relating to
information".


                                                          82nd plenary meeting
                                                               6 December 1995


                                     Notes

1/   Official Records of the General Assembly, Fiftieth
Session, Supplement No. 21 (A/50/21).

2/   A/50/462.

3/   See United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, Records of the General Conference, Twenty-first Session,
Belgrade, 23 September to 28 October 1980, vol. I, Resolutions, sect.
III.4, resolution 4/21.

4/   A/AC.198/1995/3.

5/   A/AC.198/1995/5.

6/   A/AC.198/1995/2.

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