STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. MANUEL AUGUSTO,
VICE-MINISTER OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATION OF ANGOLA,
AT THE GENERAL DEBATE
OF THE UN COMMITEE ON INFORMATION
DURING ITS 26TH SESSION
27 APRIL 2004

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

Allow us to commend you Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the government of my country, the Republic of Angola, and on my own, on your continuous of the chairmanship of the United Nations Committee on Information for this 26th period of sessions just started. You may rely on the full support and cooperation of my delegation for the fulfilment of your task.

I would also like to congratulate the other members of the Bureau for the good work during its mandate through the 25th period of the sessions of our Committee.

In taking the advantage of conveying our gratitude to Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, we would like to acknowledge the wisdom and rare qualities of someone who is leading the reform of this important sector of the United Nations in a very efficient and cooperative manner.

I would like extend our satisfaction on the Secretary-General's reports presented to the Committee.

Our delegation associates itself in general terms with the statement of the G-77 and China and as well as the statement delivered by Brazil on behalf of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

One of the big problems that developing countries face is the limited availability of resources to back up the existence of broad, democratic and balanced information services.

The development of information and communication technology introduced major changes to all areas of human activity around the world.

However, access to these modern information and communication technologies has polarized the world into two groups: those who are connected and those who are isolated. This situation has simply led the marginalization of the people in developing countries because they lack the financial resources and the manpower with the required skills to use the new technologies and compete on equal footing with the developed countries.

A viable solution to make modern technology available to all regardless of their status is the implementation of the new information and communication world order declared by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 34/189 of 1979.

The Angolan delegation believes that the translation of this project into concrete results would help lessen the gap imbalance in the relations between developed and developing countries in terms of their technological capabilities.

The delegation of Angola wishes to express its appreciation for the efforts the Department of Public Information carries out to the issue of the rationalization of the United Nations Information Centres.

We are of the view that due consideration must be given to this issue, as we proceed with the process of reforms currently in place.

Our delegation is pleased and takes this opportunity to thank the Under-Secretary-General, Mr. Shashi Tharoor and his team for the reference made in the SG report (A/AC.198/2004/3) of 27 February 2004 about the Republic of Angola's offer to host the UNICs for the African Portuguese speaking countries in Luanda.

It is our conviction that this wish would be positively addressed by the current session of the Committee because of its awareness that the African Portuguese speaking countries need and deserve a particular focus as a group, due to the specificities of their goals.

In fact, we share the idea of the process of rationalization of the UNICs, which, in our view must be carried out, in light of the new challenges faced particularly by the developing countries, which are the most needy in this era of the new technologies of information.

In this context, the Angola delegation reiterates the commitment of its government to take full responsibility in this matter, as soon as the decision to host the UNIC in Luanda has been reached.

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

On May 3rd the Freedom of the Press World Day will be celebrated, and our delegation cannot let it go unrecognized, given its significance to so many, around the world.

Freedom of the press, which will be celebrated across the world on May 3rd, is one of the most important pillars of a democratic society under the rule of law. Freedom of the press is closely linked to sustainable economic and social development and it is a valuable tool to ensure the exercise of the fundamental rights and liberties of the people.

Freedom of the press, speech and thought and the democratization of the media, are principles that the Angolan government holds as important political priorities in its endeavours to consolidate peace.

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

In conclusion, the Angolan delegation encourages the Department of Public Information to continue its efforts for the improvement of the infrastructures and the information and communication technological capabilities in the world, as expressed in the Secretary General's reports for which the General Assembly has an important role to play on providing adequate operational resources as requested by the DPI.

We are assured that under the able leadership of Mr. Shashi Tharoor and his team these goals will be attained.

We also believe that at the end of our work a step forward would have been made towards the strengthening of the relations between nations.

Thank you.

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