Democratization of Information



Freedom of communication and information signifies the free flow of ideas, opinions, and knowledge. It is imperative for the free development of the personality of each person and for the cultural, social, scientific and economic development of humanity. It is a Human right ( Art.19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ).


The classic freedom of the press does not comply with this principle. Though it gives the operators of state, economic and religious communication companies the right to publish without restrictions, it is hierarchical, biased, and non-interactive. It does not allow anyone to freely express ideas, opinions and knowledge, and to make them accessible to anyone else. And its products are territorially and linguistically limited and not available worldwide.


The electronic tool Internet presents the opportunity to overcome these impediments for free communication. It signifies the historical chance, to advance from freedom of the press to freedom of communication and to democratize information (although this also implies the democratization of disinformation): Any citizen is entitled to publish information worldwide himself, and any other citizen has the right to receive, to judge, and to use it himself, under his own responsibility.


The democratization of information makes it possible, that ideas, opinions, cultural diversity, knowledge, and education will be accessible anywhere, anytime, and to everybody. The position of the citizen and his rights will be strengthened. Cultural, state, religious, ideological and economic guardianship and manipulation will be obvious. Corruption, injustice, abuse of power, and any form of terrorism will be exposed. Ignorance and the human disasters caused by it will decrease. Universal values and ethics of peaceful living together will become possible.


But, unfortunately, it is still a long way to a free Internet. Ignorance of the method, cost and speaking a different language constitute significant barriers. Even  more serious are political, religious, ideological, legal, commercial, and technical censorship and guardianship, common also in allegedly civilized and democratic countries.


I therefore appeal to the Community of Nations and UNESCO to

1.   develop a Charter of Freedom of Communication, which ensures the free, safe and democratic access to electronic communication, while protecting the confidentiality of communications.

2.   overcome linguistic barriers and promote polyglotism in all countries and on the Internet by concrete measures. This includes that the so far deficient translation engines have to be developed further linguistically - for example by the UNESCO / UN - and be made available gratis on Internet.

3.   eliminate knowledge-dependent, financial, and technical limitations of access within the frame of international cooperation.

4.   guarantee that all contributions existing on the Internet can actually be found. At present censorship occurs in the first place in the way that search engines do not register undesired or competing contributions, or do so incorrectly or with a disadvantage, thus making them untraceable for the citizen. In order to resolve this problem I like to propose to the UNESCO / UN the development of a Universal and Multilingual Search Engine, to be directed by the UNESCO / UN.


By these measures the Community of Nations and UNESCO could promote truth, knowledge and diversity substantially all over the world. And make a more important contribution to education, human rights and peace than with any other method.


                                                                                                                      E.W. 09/11/2003