Smith's Report, no. 179

Published: 2011-02-01

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UNESCO Symposium and Conference on Freedom of Expression

"UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right, through sensitization and monitoring activities. It also fosters media independence and pluralism as prerequisites and major factors of democratization by providing advisory services on media legislation and sensitizing governments, parliamentarians and other decision-makers."

Following are four letters sent to leading participants of this UNESCO Symposium and copied to personnel in UNESCO Headquarters and to its field offices throughout the world. The letters went to:

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

Jean-François Julliard, Secretary General, Reporters Without Borders

At this point the Secretary-General opened the Symposium with a talk significantly focused on Free Expression. Free Expression here, Free Press there, Free Speech here, again and again. It was unbelievably blind to the issues of free expression in Europe so I have included it here, with my response.

It is understood that Ms. Bokova will not respond publicly to criticisms of her actions with regard to freedom of expression. The purpose of these letters from CODOH is to make the hypocrisy of UNESCO claims about supporting freedom of expression, when it does so only for some, will be obvious to her associates worldwide. The awareness of this double standard will drift from office to office and, if we stay with it, will slowly rise up through UNESCO bureaucratic ranks to—where?

The vast majority of UNESCO field offices are outside the European Union and North America—in short, out in the big world where accusations of anti-Semitism are growing increasingly ineffective...

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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Smith's Report, no. 179
Published: 2011-02-01
First posted on CODOH: June 2, 2012, 7 p.m.
Last revision:
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