New World Information and Communication Order
Following several requests, the World Organisation decided to pick up again the voluminous dossier of the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) and prepare a document with a definite policy. The Organisation's International Life Commission under the chairmanship of Mr Louis Meerts took up the task. A project for a definite policy was submitted to the Organisation's council which met in Madrid from March 13 to 15, 1986. The council members discussed at length the project and reshaped it. Its final form was unanimously ratified at the last session in Madrid on March 15. It is as following:
1. The Organisation defends the right to information as being an essential right of man, and the public opinion as being a basic requirement for the progress of the worldwide society. Everyone must be given the opportunity to express himself freely, to receive all information necessary to his own potential and to spread it freely.
2. There is a worldwide lack of equilibrium concerning the media, due to the various degrees of access to technological means of communication and training of people.
3. An equilibrium in this area does not only require the necessary technical equipment and the training of the staff but also the freedom of access to this technology according to their own convictions and conscience. Therefore it is the duty of the industrialized nations to make the necessary efforts to help the other nations in a spirit of fraternal co-operation.
4. Information is, primarily, for the World Organisation, a social good (not a product) and its social function can not be taken over by either the economic, technical or political powers. None of these dominations is tolerable.
5. The Organisation defends the freedom and rectitude of information based on a freedom of conscience. This essential freedom of conscience urges individuals to search for the truth, to know it and to communicate it to others, in respect to justice and love of neighbour. Freedom is basic to the search for truth and it requires the right for this truth to be known by everyone. It is with this knowledge that we strive to search the truth and preserve freedom. They are basically and mutually related.
6. In the search for a New World Information and Communication Order, the Organisation states that in order to reach the better balance, it must be in harmony with the concept of the human being exclusive of all relations of domination. To plead for freedom of information it is also meant to plead for diversity and pluralism within the media.
7. To accomplish this mission, the Church has the right and the duty to use media to communicate its message of salvation to mankind as it was expressed in the third paragraph of Inter Mirifica and in paragraphs 101 to 103 of Communio et Progressio, and as it results from the United Nations Charter, which guarantees the freedom of opinion, conscience, and religion in its articles 18 and 19.
8. The Organisation is of the opinion that information and communication are closely related to other areas of the life of society, notably to the political, economic, social and cultural fields, and that the development of one does not happen without influencing the other. These relationships can not be lost from sight when applied to a coherent politics of development.
Proceedings for Fulfilment
9. The Organisation wishes to intensity its efforts concerning the training of people, the granting of scholarships, the organizing of seminars, etc. with regard to the cultural identity of people and nations. From this outlook, The Organisation wishes to continue and intensify its efforts to meet the need for a better infrastructure in the third world, so as to reach a better understanding not only between north and south and vice versa, but also between neighbouring southern countries. The Organisation follows with great attention "the International Programme for the Development of Communication" (PIDC-1980) and wants, in co-operation with the aid organizations, to intensify its efforts in the area of training and technological progress.
10. The Organisation asks that the media and journalists of the industrialized nations direct their attention to the life and problems of the people of the third world, so that their readers and listeners will become increasingly sensitized to the need for greater solidarity and open dialogue with all nations.
11. Through an open and active commitment based on the principles mentioned above, the Organisation wants to work in co-operation with the other international Christian organizations that work in the means of social communication as well as with the organizations that undertake the same goal, in all clearness and without ambiguity, in a manner inspired by the ideas expressed in this document, for a worldwide information and communication to the service of the people, truth, freedom and justice.
12. The Organisation is aware that the sharing of knowledge and integrity of information on a worldwide level that appears more balanced and fair, cannot be achieved without risks and problems. It will not only be necessary to proceed with intelligence and know-how, with knowledge of cause and circumstance, but also to proceed with conviction and courage. It will not be possible to accomplish a new order by action of political or legal violence. We are confronted with a worldwide problem. It is an enormous task and a challenging commitment. We must not be discouraged simply because the way is long. As an international Christian organization we must take a step forward everyday towards a new balanced order orientated to the benefit of the human being, of society, and the Church, in truth and freedom, without any sort of domination so that all men and women may be brothers and sisters with equal rights and in a spirit of solidarity.
15 March 1986, Madrid, Spain