Communication Rights

Recognizing and building on communication rights are integral to shaping societies that fully respond to human needs and to improve their economic, political, social and cultural lives. This section offers resources from different parts of the world related to the theory and practice of the right to communicate.

This 3-minute long animation on aspects of communication rights is intended as a discussion starter. The issues it covers are by no means complete and raise questions rather than provide answers.


What are Communication Rights?

Cees Hamelink (Communications Consultant, The Netherlands): "The freedom to express your opinion: that is a basic human right, and a basic communication right." (5:15 min)

Communication rights claim spaces and resources in the public sphere for everyone to be able to engage in transparent, informed and democratic debate. They claim unfettered access to the information and knowledge essential to democracy, empowerment, responsible citizenship and mutual accountability. They claim political, social and cultural environments that encourage the free exchange of a diversity of creative ideas, knowledge and cultural products. Finally, communication rights insist on the need to ensure a diversity of cultural identities that together enhance and enrich the common good.




MacBride Report: Many Voices, One WorldCommunication and Society Today and Tomorrow. UNESCO, 1980.

Rapport MacBride. Voix multiples, un seul monde. Communication et Société Aujourd’hui et Demain. UNESCO, 1980.

Informe MacBride. Un solo mundo, voces múltiples. Comunicación e información en nuestro tiempo. UNESCO, 1980.

Assessing Communication RightsHandbook. CRIS Campaign, 2005.

Evaluación de los derechos a la comunicación. Manual. CampaÒa CRIS, 2005.

Évaluation des droits à la communicationManuel. Campagne CRIS, 2005.

Better connected – powering people through communications technologyMedia toolkit. PANOS, 2006.

The case for communication in sustainable developmentPANOS, 2007.

Common knowledge. How access to information and ideas can drive development. Media briefing. PANOS, 2007.

At the heart of change. The role of communication in sustainable development. PANOS, 2007.

Making poverty the story. Time to involve the media in poverty reduction. PANOS, 2007.

Mapping declarations and statements on communication for developmentPANOS, 2007.

The No-Nonsense guide to The Right to Information6 pages. WACC, 2009.

La guía breve del Derecho a la información. 6 p·ginas. WACC, 2009.

Le guide pratique du Droit à l'information. 6 pages, WACC, 2009.

The No-Nonsense guide to Communication Rights. 6 pages. WACC, 2007.

2-2010 Media Development on “Right to Memory”. 72 pages. WACC.

4-2002 Media Development on “Communication Rights in the Information Society”. 77 pages. WACC.

Shaping Information Societies for Human Needs. Civil Society Declaration to the World Summit on the Information Society. 2003.

Much more could have been achieved. Civil Society Statement on the World Summit on the Information Society.


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