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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
06-10-2003 11:00 am Government ministers and deputy ministers will exchange ideas and experiences about the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) to boost development when they gather at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (Room X) on October 9 and 10, as part of the 32nd session of the Organization’s General Conference. They will also discuss the principles that should, according to UNESCO, underpin the emergence of knowledge societies: freedom of expression, access to education, universal access to information, and cultural and linguistic diversity.
The Ministerial Roundtable is part of UNESCO’s preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society, to be held in Geneva (December 9-10, 2003) and in Tunis in November 2005. In the preparation for the Summit, UNESCO is stressing its preference for the concept of knowledge societies – a pluralistic concept founded on human rights, rather than that of information society, which focuses primarily on technology and infrastructure. Knowledge societies emphasize the empowering use of ICT for social cultural, and economic development. The ministers will also discuss the opportunities provided by ICT to transform societies and achieve the Millennium Development Goals set by the international community in September 2000.

The debates will focus on the key principles of knowledge societies and on the role of science, education, and the media in their development.* The participants are expected to adopt a ministerial declaration restating the basic guiding principles for the growth of equitable knowledge societies at the end of the Roundtable meeting.

For the full agenda of the Roundtable and list of participants see www.unesco.org/wsis/events/roundtable/

Only journalists accredited to UNESCO’s General Conference will be able to attend the Roundtable.

Source Media advisory No 2003 - 81


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