November 25th, 2006 05:24 EST
UN envoy for most vulnerable nations stresses importance of communications
The international media’s coverage of poorer nations remains one-dimensional and the world’s marginalized need much greater access to the tools of communications, the United Nations envoy for the world’s most vulnerable countries has told a conference of journalism and development officials.
Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States Anwarul K. Chowdhury told a conference on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro on “The New Dimension in South-South and South-North communications” that a serious communications imbalance between rich and poor countries is hurting efforts to eradicate poverty.
Although poorer nations from the South have made advances in fields such as health, education and agriculture, especially in trade among developing countries, they have not been able to make the same strides in communications, Mr. Chowdhury said.
He added that North-South communication remains skewed in favour of wealthy countries, with the international media’s treatment of poorer nations characterized by “crisis-led news coverage, which only fuels a sense of perpetual desperation.”
“Without the ‘engine’ of communication, movement towards better South-South and North-South cooperation will not have the needed traction,” he said. “Without a dependable engine, the wheels of South-South and North-South cooperation may not be able to deliver us to the destination of poverty eradication, sustainable development and a peaceful society.”
Mr. Chowdhury called for marginalized peoples in poorer nations to be granted greater access to the tools of communication, and the South’s contribution to global information to be better promoted.