Nairobi—Developing countries have criticised the
divide between developed and third world nations, with the Central
African Republic (CAR) stressing the priority importance of radio for
information in developing countries.
During a debate at the United Nations in New York this week, the
Group of 77 developing countries and China said the digital
divide was probably the most serious problem worsening the information
gap between developed and developing nations. The countries, debating
within the UN's Fourth Committee (Special Political and
Decolonisation), believed UN public information activities should be
sustained in areas of concern to developing countries and nations in
The CAR representative, Fernand Poukre-Kono, noted that the rapid
development of new information technologies had widened the
information gap and hoped that
international solidarity would
help to bridge it.
However, at present, radio remains the most
accessible medium to most of the world's people, he said. He
also expressed appreciation for the UN radio component of the former
mission in CAR (MINURCA), whose
impartial, varied broadcasts
had been enjoyed by many listeners in the country.
The US expressed support for initiatives aimed at bridging the digital
divide. Its representative Larry Carp also stressed that an adequate
information structure in any peacekeeping operation was critical to
its success and the safety of its personnel,
in Sierra Leone this past May. He spoke in favour of a rapidly
surge capacity for public information in peace
operations, and suggested that all UN offices should coordinate their
thereby freeing up funds and staff to be
directed towards current priority areas, including peacekeeping,
humanitarian relief and the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
The meeting concluded on Tuesday with the adoption of two draft
resolutions. The first, entitled
Information in the service of
humanity, was aimed at reducing disparities in information flows
by increasing assistance for the evolution of communication
capabilities in developing countries.
In the second,
United Nations public information policies and
activities, the General Assembly would underline the need to
achieve a more equitable and effective global information technology
to rectify imbalances. It would also stress that radio
is one of
the most cost-effective and far-reaching media available to the DPI
[UN's Department of Public Information] and an important
instrument in UN activities such as development and peacekeeping.