August 23, 2012 | By Carolina Rossini

UNESCO Says Monopolization of Information Puts Barriers to a Better Life

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Governments are pushing for stronger intellectual property measures that excessively favor entertainment and pharmaceutical industries through international fora such as World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - by trying to create new rights for Broadcasters, and more pressingly, through international agreements such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Many of us in civil society are fighting back and are calling attention to the crucial need to enable and facilitate content to enter the public domain. UNESCO has been a big supporter of this initiative, standing up against the privatization of knowledge and the great risk it poses to improving quality of life around the world. 

Information, media, and educational professionals, as well as government executives and members of the public met at the International Conference Media and Information Literacy for Knowledge Societies in Moscow, Russia last June. UNESCO, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and other state and non-state agencies held this conference in order to raise awareness of the significance, scale, and topicality of media and information literacy advocacy.

This document was produced through a collaborative process involving participants from 40 countries:

" The changing media landscape and the rapid growth in information are affecting individuals and societies now more than ever. In order to succeed in this environment, and to resolve problems effectively in every facet of life, individuals, communities and nations should obtain a critical set of competencies to be able to seek, critically evaluate and create new information and knowledge in different forms using existing tools, and share these through various channels. This literacy creates new opportunities to improve quality of life. However, individuals, organizations, and societies have to address existing and emerging barriers and challenges to the free and effective use of information, including, but not exhausted by, the following:

This literacy creates new opportunities to improve quality of life. However, individuals, organizations, and societies have to address existing and emerging barriers and challenges to the free and effective use of information, including,
but not exhausted by, the following:
* Limited capacities, resources and infrastructure;
* Censorship, limited information in the public domain, commercialization, privatization, and monopolization of information;
* Lack of respect for cultural and linguistic diversity;
* Excessive and inappropriate legal barriers to accessing, distributing and owning information;
* Lack of awareness of long-term preservation of information, particularly personal digital information; and
* Lack of cross-sectorial and interdisciplinary collaboration among stakeholders (between librarians and media educators, between mass media outfits and academic organizations, etc.)"

Moscow Declaration, June, 2012 [PDF]

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is one of the core supporters of the declaration and has stated:

Media and Information Literacy is a basic human right in an increasingly digital, interdependent, and global world, and promotes greater social inclusion. It can bridge the gap between the information rich and the information poor. Media and Information Literacy empowers and endows individuals with knowledge of the functions of the media and information systems and the conditions under which these functions are performed. 

The final declaration is now available. The set of presentations and texts that provided the background leading to the declarati


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