Please, check against delivery
STATEMENT BY MR. MARIO DE AZEVEDO CONSTANTINO,
MINISTER COUNSELLOR AT THE PERMANENT MISSION OF ANGOLA
TO THE UNITED NATIONS,
AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE UN COMMITEE ON INFORMATION
DURING ITS TWENTY-EIGHTH SESSION
26 APRIL 2006
My delegation would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you for the professionalism and skilful manner you have guided us throughout the 27th Session.
We thank Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Mr. Shashi Tharoor, for his detailed and comprehensive presentation made yesterday, which outlined a full account of the tasks undertaken by the Department of Public Information. Our appreciation goes also to the entire staff of the Department for the way they have carried out their tasks.
My delegation aligns itself with the statement made earlier by the G-77 and China and the statement of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).
One of the great 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 for quite some time grouped the world into those who are connected and those who are isolated. This situation has simply led to the marginalization of the people in developing countries, due to their lack of financial resources and manpower with the required skills to use the new technologies and compete on equal basis with the developed countries.
Mr. Chairman, The delegation of Angola, wishes to express its appreciation for the efforts the Department of Public Information has made to enable the existence of the United Nations Information Centres for a better dissemination of information about the work of the organisation around world.
My delegation is pleased and takes the opportunity to thank the Secretary General for his reports and in particular that contained in document A/AC.198/2006/1, regarding the Republic of Angola's offer to host the United Nations Information Centre in Luanda to serve the special needs of the African Portuguese speaking countries.
We urge the Department of Public Information, as we move towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, to continue its efforts for the opening of the Luanda Centre, taking into consideration the offer of rent-free premises of the Government of Angola.
We stress the need for the allocation of more resources in order to ensure the better functioning and strengthening of the UNIC's in developing countries.
In this connection, the Angola delegation reinforces its commitment to host a United Nations Information Centre in Luanda to serve the special needs of five developing countries, some with war torn economies. Therefore, my delegation requests this Committee to give a carefully consideration at this question.
While we commend the fruitful work undertaken by the Desk for Portugal in the UN regional centre in Brussels, as outlined in the Secretary's Report, the Portuguese Speaking African Countries cannot just rely on such services. The special needs of developing countries must be clearly addressed by this Committee. The local communities do not have the same new technologies as compared with developed countries. This is a question of access to the means of information. We can only minimise this imbalance, by opening a UNIC in Luanda.
The delegation of Angola would like to pay special tribute to those, whom under difficult circumstances, cover to the fullest extent the work of the UN Radio, and here our special thanks and appreciation goes to the Portuguese Radio Unit, for the services they provide around the world and particularly in Africa. We would also like to show our appreciation for the recent appointment of the UN Radio Portuguese Unit Chief. We would like to assure our full support to Mrs. Monica Valleria and her team.
Angola also commends the Department on its efforts for redesigning the UN Website and welcomes the New Press Release Web page and daily Media Alert published by it. Furthermore, we join other delegations in congratulating the DPI for the improvement in the delivery of services offered by UN libraries.
My delegation believes that a free press is fundamental for true democracy.
In this connection, we are pleased to announce that earlier in February this year the Angolan National Assembly (Angolan Parliament) adopted a New Press Law. This new document has the merit of being more extensive and updated, as well as perfectly in line with the country's current socio-political context. It creates balance between press freedom and the citizen's rights. Provisions such as the prohibition of censorship, the access to sources of information and other rights and duties constitute part of the newly adopted Angolan Press Law.
Despite this improvement, however, a lot remains to be done and the government of Angola will continue to broaden the free access to information and expression by the population.
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 report for which this Committee as the Legislative body of this organisation, has an important role to play in providing adequate operational resources as requested by Members States.