The State of the Right to Communicate

By Cees J. Hamelink, Julia Hoffmann - 2008

In this article the authors first present the historical development of the right to communicate as first internationally expressed in a call for a New World Information and Communication Order. Subsequently, they focus on its revival during the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, which they argue  missed the historical chance to give new momentum to the debate, while global developments have all but intensified the need for communication processes to be recognized as a human need and to be firmly protected.

The authors conclude with the key controversial questions surrounding the concept of a 'right to communicate' in order to point to some of the most problematic issues which have yet to be resolved and identify the position of such a right within the logic of the contemporary human rights edifice. Finally, they propose a new approach to the debate, which could contribute to fine-tuning its further development and avoiding some of the historical deadlocks, which have resulted from an overly politicized discussion during the early years.

Global Media Journal Vol. 7, Issue 13, Fall 2008. PDF.


Communication rights enable all people everywhere to express themselves individually and collectively by all means of communication. They are vital to full participation in society and are, therefore, universal human rights belonging to every man, woman, and child.


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