New resolution from the directors of Deutsche Welle, the BBC World Service, Radio France Internationale, Radio Netherlands Worldwide and the Voice of America
The heads of five of the largest international broadcasters have called upon governments to honor the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and "end any and all practices that hamper the rights of people everywhere to receive and impart information."
At their annual meeting in Hilversum, Netherlands, the directors of the BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle, Radio France Internationale, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and the Voice of America issued an unprecedented joint resolution denouncing what they termed as growing trends towards media restrictions and attacks on journalists in many of the countries to which they broadcast.
The resolution also states: “Especially alarming have been the attempts of some regimes to hinder or forbid local partner stations from broadcasting our radio and television programs through licensing and regulatory measures. And there are more and more countries using jamming transmitters to interfere with radio broadcasts, as well as blocking or censoring the Internet.”
Regardless of differing historical backgrounds, missions and experience, the five international broadcasters all have the goal of offering truthful and pluralistic news and information to people around the world.
In the resolution the directors also express their concerns about the “grave and rising threats to the right to gather information and communicate it across national borders.”
Jan Hoek, Director General of Radio Netherlands Worldwide, who currently chairs the group of five broadcasters, said: “Our most important objective is to inform people without access to diverse media sources and viewpoints, who lack reliable and independent information. In a progressively polarized environment where the media in many countries are encountering fierce curbs on their freedom to publish, we need to stand together to meet the needs of those millions of audiences worldwide who have come to depend on us as a vital source of trustworthy information.”
According to several press monitoring organizations, press freedom has been on the decline in many countries in recent years. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has tracked an increase in the number of journalists killed at work each year since 2002.
The five international broadcasters reach hundreds of millions weekly by radio, television, and the Internet. Programs are produced in 60 languages and broadcast worldwide through thousands of affiliate radio stations, television channels and cable systems.
January 8, 2007