A web portal providing access to resources on communication rights has been launched by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) as the first step towards establishing a new global Centre for Communication Rights.
The portal can be found at www.centreforcommunicationrights.org. WACC says it has has taken this initiative in response to a growing demand for materials and resources about communication rights, the democratisation of communication, and their relationship to development.
It did so acknowledging the pioneering work on the right to communicate that began in 1969 with Jean Dâ??Arcy and implemented by the Right to Communicate Group led by L. S. Harms, Desmond Fisher and others.
In the 1980s WACC supported moves for a New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) and the work of the individuals and organisations that made up the Platform for Cooperation on Communication and Democratisation. WACC later held the secretariat of the Campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society (CRIS).
Communication rights go beyond mere freedom of opinion and expression, say campaigners. They include such topics as democratic media governance, media ownership and control, linguistic rights, the right to information, education, privacy, peaceful assembly, and self-determination. These are questions of inclusion and exclusion, democratic responsibility and accountability. In short, they are questions of human dignity.
For several years WACC has supported activities aimed at claiming and using communication rights as integral to shaping societies that fully respond to human needs. This was done in the belief that strengthening communication rights creates an enabling environment that is crucial to participatory citizenship and genuine social and economic development.
It is planned that the Centre for Communication Rights - for which WACC is currently seeking funding - will work on a global index of communication rights, educational and training curricula, strategies and toolkits for monitoring and advancing communication rights, capacity-building, research, and advocacy.