We, actors in the field of alternative information as well as citizen activists who use communication as a tool for social transformation:
Note that, in a global context:
- information is held in a stranglehold by political, economic and industrial forces and is manipulated by the governments and States;
- freedom of expression is being denied, thwarted or repressed;
- there is little or no guarantee for an unfettered access to information for all citizens;
- a violent repression is unleashed upon citizens and actors in the field of information;
- information is being commodified and standardized;
- there is an increasing distrust by public opinion regarding information conveyed by the mainstream media.
We also note, particularly in Africa:
- an almost total absence of laws favouring citizens’ access to information;
- freedom of expression and freedom of the press being undermined by repressive laws;
- hindrances and restrictions, if not outright censorship, placed upon communities who wish to establish community media.
- At the same time, we see new perspectives opening up, in the face of this disturbing situation:
- a greater awareness and ability by citizens to participate in the production and circulation of information in order to promote social justice;
- the emergence of alternative media and the stepping unto the stage of citizens who contribute to social and political change, as evidenced by recent events in Tunisia and Egypt.
We declare that the right to communicate is a fundamental right and a common good of humanity.
We commit ourselves to:
- defend, support and promote all initiatives that ensure and extend the right to communication and information as a fundamental human right;
- building advocacy for a legislative and regulatory framework for public, alternative and community media, including ensuring among others a better right to airwave-access and broadcasting options;
- recognize and protect the actors and activists involved in information and communication around the world;
- create and strengthen synergies between all actors and activists working towards social transformation;
- promote accessibility and popular ownership/mastery of media and information/communication technology by all citizens, without restriction of gender, class or origin;
- promote mechanisms for ongoing communication between the various actors, participants and organizers of social forums, including the „extended“ Social Forum as well as the various experiences of shared communication.
- support the development and strengthening of community and alternative media;
- combat censorship and guarantee freedom of expression on the Internet;
- work towards the elaboration of a model that ensures the viability, sustainability and independence of the alternative media;
- give a central place to issues of communication rights in the thematic spaces of social forums.
- Center our information campaigns and awareness-raising activities on key issues that are on the international agenda (Rio+20, G8, G20, Palestine Forum, Durban, etc.).
- Organize a World Forum of Free and Alternative Media in 2012, as part of the WSF process.
- As actors of communication, we clearly state our support for the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples, we call on their governments to lift censorship and to stop the repression against all citizens and actors in the field of information.
- We also call on all actors of social change and to unite our forces in the struggle for the right to information and communication, without which no change is possible.