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Communication and Information Activities

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Freedom of Expression

UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right

In 1989, after the end of the Cold War, UNESCO further strengthened its commitments to freedom of the press. To this end, UNESCO organized in all regions of the world a series of seminars on freedom of the press, independent and pluralistic media which led to the adoption of key reference texts. These texts were subsequently endorsed by all Member States.
Since the adoption of the New Communication Strategy by the General Conference in 1989, UNESCO has contributed to a wider recognition and public awareness of the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of information as a fundamental human right.

Through the five regional seminars on promoting independent and pluralist media held between 1991 and 1997, the Organization has played a key role in raising awareness among media professionals and decision-makers of the importance of these principles, as well as in elaborating specific action to address the particular needs of each region. The declarations and plans of action emerging from the regional seminars have provided a unique guiding framework for UNESCO’s action aimed at building a democratic media environment.

The Organization has also continuously provided assistance to media organizations in setting up legal statutes to ensure independent flow of information, editorial independence, financial autonomy and safety of media professionals.