Statement at the Special Political Committee of the Fourth Committee on Agenda Item 32 "Question Relating to Information"22 OCTOBER 2008

Mr. Chairman

Let me at the outset, offer on behalf of my delegation our felicitations on your election as the Chair of this Committee. My delegation is confident that this Committee will successfully conclude its work under your able leadership, known wisdom and diplomatic skills. My delegation is also thankful to Mr. Hosseini the distinguished representative of Iran for admirably performing his duties as Rapporteur.

  1. We align ourselves with the statement made by the representative of Antigua and Barbuda as the Chair of G 77 and China and the statement made by representative of Malaysia on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
  2. We have heard with great interest the comprehensive statement made by the Under Secretary General Mr. Kiyo Akasaka and are thankful to him for apprising member states about the activities of DPI.
  3. My delegation is cognizant of the enormity of the task and challenges faced by the Department of Public Information (DPI). We believe that DPI has an important role to play at a critical time when the world is characterized by polarizations and misunderstandings between societies, religions and cultures.
  4. My delegation would therefore emphasize that information and communication be put to its best use in serving as a bridge to promote understanding between different cultures and religions.
  5. Despite financial constraints, the DPI has made commendable efforts to increase awareness about the achievements and challenges faced by the United Nations. The importance of close cooperation between the Department of Public Information and other substantive departments can not be overemphasized especially the role of its Strategic Communication Services in delivering and disseminating UN messages and its work in promoting issues of importance to the international community.
  6. My delegation reaffirms that it will continue to work closely with other member states to achieve the objective of parity among all official languages.
  7. Pakistan attaches high priority to the work of United Nations Information Centers (UNIC’s) around the world in disseminating information in and about the UN System. These centers play the role of mini-UN in their respective countries. We are confident that the DPI would continue to further strengthen these centers both in meeting their financial requirements as well as providing them necessary staff in order to enable them carry out their work in the host countries.
  8. Freedom of expression is a universal right which needs to be promoted and protected. Freedom of one does not need to offend others, to prove that one has the freedom of expression. My delegation agrees with the Secretary General that “freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility”.
  9. The Constitution of Pakistan grants freedom of speech and expression to every individual as a fundamental right. The newly elected government is committed to uphold the Constitution and a free media. Amongst its first actions the government tabled a legislation in the Parliament to reverse all laws that impinge on the freedom of the media.
  10. The media in Pakistan is vibrant and passing through a stage of transition. Pakistan is among the few countries where government’s policies have created an enabling environment for the private sector to be the engine of growth for electronic media. There has been a surge in private media in the country. This can be gauged from the fact that licenses have been granted by the government to more than 22 TV Channels and 64 FM Radio Stations, which are airing their programmes. Besides 266 publications including dailies, periodicals, magazines are being published and 14 News Agencies are operating in the country which provide news services.

Mr. Chairman

  1. There are vast disparities and imbalances in the flow of information between countries and regions and most prominently between the developed and developing world. Those who enjoy monopolies in technology have influenced the world affairs by promoting their values and are affecting the lives of the millions who are unable to put across their points of view due to non availability or limited access to technology. The Committee on Information in its recommendations has particularly stressed the importance of taking into account the special needs and requirements of the developing countries in the field of Information Technology.
  2. May we also request an equitable representation of journalists in not only getting access to Secretary General for interviews but also in their placement in the United Nations Press Gallery.
  3. Member states have been consistently requesting the Secretariat to provide additional passes to Press officers to gain access to areas that are deemed restricted, in order to effectively and comprehensively report on high-level meetings that include officials of delegations of Member States. We hope that the Secretariat will accede to our request in order to provide better access to the media of Member States and facilitate them in carrying out their professional duties.
  4. In conclusion, I would like to express the confidence that the resolution of this agenda item shall be adopted on the basis of the recommendations of the Committee on Information.

I thank you.