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13e Fête de la Communication

Sergei Ordzhonikidze

28 septembre 2010
13e Fête de la Communication

Remarks by Mr. Sergei A. Ordzhonikidze
13e Fête de la Communication
La Pastorale, Geneva, Tuesday, 28 September 2010, at 19:30

Mr. Minister
Ambassador Martinelli
Mr. President of the State Council
Mr. State Councillor
Madam Mayor
Madam Chancellor
Mr. Mettan
Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a great pleasure to be with you again for the Fête de la Communication, which has become a treasured feature of the annual Geneva calendar. Allow me, first of all, to thank my good friend, Guy Mettan, for his steadfast support for the work of the international community. This annual event is another valuable example of his untiring efforts to bring “international” and “local” Geneva closer together, which is greatly appreciated by us all. I have no doubt that this magnificent new conference room will serve to take those efforts further. I value this opportunity also to thank our Host Country – at federal, cantonal and municipal levels – for the commitment to the United Nations and to the international community.

Dear Friends:
We all know the saying that knowledge is power. This has never been more true than in our globalized information society. Access to information is the key to empowerment of the individual, and therefore critical to our collective progress. Information is necessary to make informed decisions and to implement change.

Free and independent media are fundamental to transparency and accountability that are hallmarks of strong democracies. With the ability to reach individuals across the globe comes also a responsibility to inform and communicate with the highest standards of professionalism.

In a world where broadcasting, digital and Internet media continues to expand at almost explosive rates, we must work to ensure that the benefits of information and communications reach everybody. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that about one quarter of the world’s population is using the Internet. At the same time, the rapid rise in subscribers masks significant regional differences. In particular when it comes to broadband, there is a dramatic divide, with very few fixed broadband subscribers or mobile broadband subscriptions in Africa. Broadband, like other information and communication technologies, holds extraordinary potential for generating economic activity and advancing sustainable development.

Here, five years before the deadline for realizing the Millennium Development Goals, our common challenge is to unlock this potential – for our collective progress.

As we have now entered the International Year of Youth, we need to pay particular attention to reaching out to younger generations across the globe. Around half of the world’s population is under 25. It is imperative that they be educated, engaged and empowered to be able to shape our common future.

Let us take this opportunity to pay tribute to journalists and communication professionals across the world, and for their contributions to an interactive, informed and involved world. By bringing us knowledge, they empower us all.

Thank you very much.

This speech is part of a curated selection from various official events and is posted as prepared.