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Dr. Wajiha presented at ECREA - ALAIC panel on "Rights to communication, access to information and culture. Agenda and debates towards the future"

We are pleased to share that Dr. Wajiha Raza Rizvi presented a paper in a panel discussion on "Rights to communication, access to information and culture. Agenda and debates towards the future" in the zoom session held by the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) and Asociación Latinoamericana de Investigadores de la Comunicación (ALAIC) at 530pm on June 3, 2020. Dr. Rizvi discussed issues around Pakistan's and India's position in regards to "Right to communication, access to information and culture, agenda and debates towards the future", considering the mentioned postcolonial countries had to deal with the Official Secrets Act, 1923 that had the “catch all” Section 5 for dealing with espionage and made it an offence to part with any information received in the course of official duty, to non-officials. She presented on the change in communication culture and right to information in Pakistan. The panel had representation from all the continents and Dr. Rizvi, though presented on Pakistan's position, referred to India and Bangladesh in her presentation. The panel especially shared the space for debate promoted by ECREA with each of the presenters, and raised an agenda of issues from ALAIC and Latin America. The International Association of Media & Communication Research (IAMCR) will share the recorded session with the registered members and conference participants in its upcoming conference on 11-15 July 2022. Dr. Patricia Núñez Gómez who is a professor of Complutense University in Spain, Head of the Applied Communication Science Department and Head of UNITWIN (Gender and Media Universities, UNESCO, organized and moderated the panel discussion. The details of the ECREA - ALAIC panel recorded on June 3, 2022 are noted here below:

Panel: "Rights to communication, access to information and culture. Agenda and debates towards the future"

Coordination: Patricia Núñez Gómez/Fernando Oliveira

Proposed by ECREA, the panel seeks to debate the Rights to communication, access to information and culture across the Globe, trying to define common points of Agenda and common actions towards the future.

To discuss the definitions and issues described below, the panel has the scheduled participation of colleagues from all regions of the Globe: Patricia Núñez Gómez, Daniela Monje, Achille Mbembe, Audrey Yue, Marwan Kraidy and Mohan J. Dutta.

On November 17, 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared September 28 as the International Day for Universal Access to Information. Freedom of information is recognized as a fundamental freedom and as a human right.

The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in these terms: “Every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the right not to be disturbed because of his/her opinions, to investigate and receive information and opinions, and to disseminate them, without limitation of borders, by any means of expression”.

Furthermore, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights establishes that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this right includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, whether orally, in writing or in print or art, or by any other means of his choice”.

Freedom of expression is based on the fact that any person can enjoy the right and the possibility to speak, write, blog, perform artistic performances, compose, create, etc., in a context of freedom free from any persecution, discrimination and censorship. This presupposes the existence of pluralistic and independent social media that allow people to access information that is not biased or subject to censorship.

For freedom of expression to become a reality, it must be enshrined in law, defended by governments, and supported by regulatory systems. Freedom of expression is essential for "the full development of the person" and "the achievement of the principles of transparency and accountability, which, in turn, are essential for the promotion and protection of human rights."

It also contributes to reinforcing social ties and levels of trust, fostering processes of individual and collective social inclusion and identification with the group to which they belong – especially in the case of minorities – and promoting dialogue and exchanges with others. groups and cultures.

Therefore, freedom of expression plays an essential role in ensuring that development processes in each community are equitable and take into account the opinions and ideas of all its members. In addition, the consideration of freedom of expression as a fundamental human right is closely linked to the role it plays in creating conditions conducive to the flourishing of cultures, promoting equitable access to cultural content, and strengthening capacities of all people to participate in cultural life.

The possibility of dissent stimulates advances in science, the arts and forms of expression and is a key element for the construction of knowledge societies. Freedom of expression is also a necessary condition for the free circulation of ideas, knowledge, and content and, therefore, for diversity, two essential elements when it comes to promoting creativity and the production and circulation of new forms of expression.

The participants have had different roles at International Organizations. The aim is to explore how they have contributed or can contribute in the future to the topic of the panel.

Participants. -
Europa/Ecrea Patricia Núñez Gómez is a professor of Complutense University in Spain. Head of the Applied Communication Science Department. Head of UNITWIN (Gender and Media Universities, Unesco)
América Latina/ALAIC (Research Association in Communication Studies in Latinamerica): Daniela Monje Head of ALAIC in International Public Relations and professor in Cordoba University, Argentina.
Pakistan/IAMCR (International Association for Media and Communication Research): Wajiha Raza Rizvi is the Chair of Gender Section at IAMCR. Director Film museum Society and Associate Professor, School of Media & Mass Communication, Beaconhouse National University, Pakistan.
North America : Prof. Rodrigo Cetina , Executive Director. Researcher, Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School
Africa : Prof. Sifiso Mnisi, Head of School: Communication, University of Johannesburg

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