Exclusion of Reporters sans FrontieresCommon Communique of civil society media and human rights caucuses
from the World Summit on the Information Society
Geneva, September 18, 2003
The media and human rights in the information society caucuses, present in Geneva for PrepCom 3 of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) express their astonishment and consternation over the communication by the Executive Director of the Summit to Reporters Sans Frontières of the refusal to allow the press freedom organization to participate in this meeting and the Summit.
The procedural reason given should not override the principle at the core of the Summit: an Information adn Communication Society should have as its basis the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, notably freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
We strongly urge the Summit's Executive Secretariat to abrogate immediately its administrative decision to exclude RSF from the work of the WSIS.
Failing that, the image of the WSIS and of the UN system could only be tarnished as to their attachement to freedom of expression and its determination to include civil society in its deliberations.
Contacts for this communique in Geneva:
Media caucus: Ronald Koven, World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC)
Human Rights caucus: Meryem Marzouki, Imaginons un réseau Internet Solidaire (IRIS)
Additional note from the Human Rights caucus:
This administrative decision of RSF comes after the exclusion of Human Rights in China, the only organization devoted to human rights in China. See their communique at: www.hrichina.org.
A summit on the information society that allows the participation of governments that systematically censors medias and violates human rights but that doesn't allow the participation of some of the leading international groups defending those rights makes no sense.
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