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Communication Theories in a Multicultural World


Clifford G. Christians and Kaarle Nordenstreng

This volume is an up-to-date account of communication theories from around the world.
Authored by a group of eminent scholars, each chapter is a history and state-of-the-art description of the major issues in international communication theory.
While the book draws on an understanding of communication theory as a product of its socio-political and cultural context, and the challenges posed by that context, it also highlights each author’s lifetime effort to critique the existing trends in communication theory and bring out the very best in each multicultural context.
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14 Human Rights and Communication: Reflections on a Challenging Relationship




The most essential standard in human rights law that relates to information and communication is the entitlement to free speech.

When, during World War II, drafts for a post-war international bill of rights were prepared, freedom of expression figured prominently. In a text produced by a commission of the U.S. Department of State in 1942, it was stated, “All persons shall enjoy freedom of speech and of the press, and the right to be informed.” Immediately after the war in 1945, the UNESCO Constitution was adopted, It was the first multilateral instrument to reflect concern for the freedom of information and was largely based upon U.S. drafts (Wells, 1987). These drafts included, among others, a proposal stressing the paramount importance of the mass media and “the need to identify opportunities of UNESCO furthering their use for the ends of peace.” To promote the implementation of the concern for freedom of information, a special division of “free flow of information” was established in the secretariat in Paris.

In 1946, the delegation of the Philippines presented to the UN General Assembly a proposal for a resolution on an international conference on issues dealing with the press. This became UNGA Resolution 59(I), which was adopted unanimously in late 1946. According to the resolution, the purpose of the conference would be to address the rights, obligations, and practices that should be included in the concept of freedom of information. The resolution called freedom ← 228 | 229...

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